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

The forklift caused damage to a fence and picnic table before becoming stuck in the grass in the enclosure. chicagotribune.com, "Falcon Park playground equipment set afire in Arlington Heights: Police," 7 July 2019 Sophia Paden holds a piece of papaya up to the fence for Pepper, a northern white-cheeked gibbon, whose counterparts in the wild number fewer than 1,000. Sharon Boorstin, latimes.com, "Want to get close to gibbons or pythons? Volunteer at one of these L.A. places," 4 July 2019 Three tunes, then frog marched not just away from the stage, but right to the far perimeter fence and out. Ted Gartland, BostonGlobe.com, "Photographer rolls through the decades with the Stones," 3 July 2019 My husband nailed a full rack of antlers to the fence about 5 years ago. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Livermore homeowners are using antlers to control squirrels’ chewing," 28 June 2019 The owner of Green Planet in the southern city of Caserta chained himself to the fence around his locked shop this month after a raid in which police seized 16 grams of cannabis light. Washington Post, "Italy’s ‘cannabis light’ creates buzz even if the pot won’t," 27 June 2019 DeAngelo hollered and cursed when Gorman, then a child, played too close to the slat fence between their yards. Tribune News Service, oregonlive.com, "The Man in the Window: Closing in on DeAngelo (Part Four)," 23 June 2019 First-base umpire John Libka ran all the way to the fence to confirm the ball was stuck. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants’ Kevin Pillar in the middle of another bizarre play at Oracle Park," 16 June 2019 Members of the Extinction Rebellion Youth group locked themselves to the fence of Parliament demanding climate change action on May 3rd 2019 in London, United Kingdom. Farhana Yamin, Time, "This Is the Only Way to Tackle the Climate Emergency," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Guided by miles of fencing, raccoons, bobcats, deer, elk, moose, cougars, and coyotes have taken advantage of the overpass, avoiding collisions with vehicles on Interstate 80 below. Steve Mollman, Quartz, "A $5 million wildlife overpass in Utah has just one problem: humans," 23 June 2019 Fifty years ago, the Cold War fenced off entire subcontinents. Paul Salopek, The New Yorker, "A Twenty-Four-Thousand-Mile Walk Across Human History," 17 June 2019 At Disney today, the beach is still fenced off at the luxurious Grand Floridian and the warning signs about alligators and snakes remain posted. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "As memory fades of 2016 Disney World gator attack, the charity formed in its wake grows," 14 June 2019 There are also after-school activities galore, such as fencing, pottery, and community gardening. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Princess Charlotte Is All Ready to Attend a New School This Fall," 29 May 2019 On a recent visit, four more homes in a row were fenced off and likely awaiting demolition. New York Times, "Moving This Summer? Consider a Hard Hat," 21 June 2019 The grandstands are fenced off, awaiting repair and upgrades. Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "A Fascinating Long Weekend in Detroit: The Essential Guide," 19 June 2019 And for the first time in the festival’s 13-year history, the event was fenced off, and attendees had to go through security checkpoints before entering the event space that included visible police and security officers. USA TODAY, "Mowing quest, mayo man, soybean scare: News from around our 50 states," 17 June 2019 Outside a small stadium and a shuttered pizza restaurant, officials have fenced in a small pavilion where hundreds of migrants sleep on the ground, a few of them in tents. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, "Threatened by Trump, Mexico is trying to reinforce its southern border. Wide gaps remain.," 13 June 2019

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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Learn More about fence

Dictionary Entries near fence

fen

Fen

fenagle

fence

fence arbor

fence law

fence lizard

Statistics for fence

Last Updated

11 Jul 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

Comments on fence

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