fence

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfen(t)s How to pronounce fence (audio) \

Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : a means of protection : defense
2a : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary especially : such a barrier made of posts and wire or boards
b : an immaterial barrier or boundary line on the other side of the fence in the argument
4a : a receiver of stolen goods
b : a place where stolen goods are bought
on the fence
: in a position of neutrality or indecision

fence

verb
fenced; fencing

Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to enclose with a fence
b(1) : to keep in or out with a fence
(2) : to ward off
2 : to provide a defense for
3 : to sell (stolen property) to a fence

intransitive verb

1a : to practice fencing
b(1) : to use tactics of attack and defense resembling those of fencing
(2) : to parry arguments by shifting ground
2 archaic : to provide protection

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Other Words from fence

Noun

fenceless \ ˈfen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce fenceless (audio) \ adjective
fencelessness noun

Verb

fencer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for fence

Synonyms: Noun

barricade, barrier, hedge, wall

Synonyms: Verb

bulwark, cover, defend, fend, forfend, guard, keep, protect, safeguard, screen, secure, shield, ward

Antonyms: Verb

assail, assault, attack

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Examples of fence in a Sentence

Noun

We put up a fence around our yard. the only way to prevent motorists from trying to use that unsafe bridge is to put a fence across the road leading to it

Verb

a house with a fenced-in yard He stole watches and fenced them on the street.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But on a night where the ball was flying over the fences, no lead was safe. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Yoan Moncada's 3-run triple drops the Cincinnati Reds in 12-inning slugfest," 3 July 2018 People ran from the truck in an attempt to elude officers, jumping over fences and climbing on the roofs of houses, several breaking bones. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, "Neighbors describe chaotic scene after more than 50 immigrants found in truck," 13 June 2018 Residents with still-functional wells were snaking hoses over fences to nourish their neighbors. Matt Simon, WIRED, "LA Is Doing Water Better Than Your City. Yes, That LA," 12 June 2018 An earlier composition depicts riders preparing for a point-to-point race across country fields; the second records the post-contest activities of a steeplechase competition over fences and hurdles. E.a. Carmean Jr., WSJ, "‘A Sporting Vision: The Paul Mellon Collection of British Sporting Art From the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Review," 23 May 2018 The prisoners then fought their way down an elevator, past an outside loading dock and over several interior prison fences before officers caught them, according to an inmate disciplinary report. Gavin Off And Ames Alexander, charlotteobserver, "Autopsies reveal brutality of NC prison officer slayings | Charlotte Observer," 18 May 2018 After the first home run of the College World Series sailed over the left-field fence, Hunter Wilson, a backup infielder for Arkansas, stepped out of the Razorbacks’ dugout brandishing a colorful reward for the teammate who hit it. Pat Borzi, New York Times, "A College World Series Filled With Hog Hats, Hammers and Championship Belts," 23 June 2018 Reminders remain of the region's difficult past, from barbed wire fences to minefields. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "You Can Now Hike Alongside the Korean DMZ," 1 May 2019 Larry Gagosian was famous for calling fence-sitters 10 to 15 times a day. Town & Country, "Mary Boone Is Taking a Break," 18 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Non-lethal deterrents like fencing, alarm devices, hazing and removal of carcasses must be documented before a permit to kill a wolf can be issued. oregonlive.com, "Oregon wildlife commissioners adopt hotly contested wolf management plan," 7 June 2019 Most notably, the agreement called for $2.8 billion in funding for fencing and other border security measures that Trump requested. Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "GOP leaders push another short-term spending bill as shutdown looms," 16 Jan. 2018 The home’s unique pedigree aside, the property boasts 59 acres scattered with streams, woodland walking trails, and a 50x50 fenced in garden with potting shed. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Country house on 59 acres blends old and new for $683K," 12 Dec. 2018 Democrats and Republicans generally agree to a baseline of $1.6 billion to construct about 60 miles of bollard fencing in the Rio Grande Valley. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Proposed DACA pathway complicates border wall funding," 25 June 2018 Images of children fenced off in detention facilities have struck a nerve with the public and led Trump to amend his zero-tolerance policy on Wednesday. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Prison company detaining immigrants has helped McSally, others in GOP," 22 June 2018 The homeless were soon removed from this land, too, when in September 2016 the city fenced in the school in preparation for the building's redevelopment into luxury housing. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "Housing / Politics Fight for right to camp on city streets will continue despite legal setback, homeless advocates say," 7 June 2018 In May, a young California toddler died after falling into the family’s swimming pool, which was not fenced in. Lindsay Kimble, PEOPLE.com, "Summer Has Arrived — Here's How to Avoid Flesh-Eating Bacteria & More Warm Weather Health Hazards," 5 June 2018 The victim, who was not identified, was attacked after opening a gate to a fenced in yard. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, "Woman, 75, killed by pit bulls in Gulfport: report," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fence

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for fence

Noun

Middle English fens, short for defens, defense defense entry 1

Verb

Middle English fensen, derivative of fens fence entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near fence

fen

Fen

fenagle

fence

fence arbor

fence law

fence lizard

Statistics for fence

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fence

The first known use of fence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fence

fence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a structure like a wall built outdoors usually of wood or metal that separates two areas or prevents people or animals from entering or leaving
informal : a person who buys stolen property from thieves and sells it

fence

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a fence around (a place or area)
: to keep (something or someone) in or out with a fence
: to fight with swords : to practice the art or sport of fencing

fence

noun
\ ˈfens How to pronounce fence (audio) \

Kids Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a barrier (as of wood or wire) to prevent escape or entry or to mark a boundary

fence

verb
fenced; fencing

Kids Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to enclose with a fence fence a yard
2 : to fight with swords : to practice the sport of fencing

Other Words from fence

fencer noun

fence

noun

Legal Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary
2a : a receiver of stolen goods
b : a place where stolen goods are bought
fenced; fencing

Legal Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to enclose with a fence
b : to keep in or out with a fence
2 : to sell (stolen property) to a fence

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More from Merriam-Webster on fence

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fence

Spanish Central: Translation of fence

Nglish: Translation of fence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fence for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fence

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