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

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 After his upper-deck drive in the third, Lowe barely cleared the outfield fence with his second homer, a line drive off Elvis Luciano in the seventh. Ian Harrison, The Seattle Times, "Cheap seats: Meadows, Lowe go way deep as Rays beat Jays," 12 Apr. 2019 Winter squash need room to stretch as their vines sprawl 10 to 15 feet in every direction; train the plants up a trellis or fence to conserve space. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "16 Types of Squash and Everything You Need to Know About Them," 28 Dec. 2018 Last year, a new design was approved for the White House fence to deter people from climbing it. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "The Trump administration is trying to restrict access to D.C. public spaces popular with protesters," 12 Oct. 2018 Over the past seven years, Segera has undergone its own rewilding, thanks to the vision of its owner, Jochen Zeitz, who has removed all fences on this former cattle farm and reintroduced game, while rehabilitating overgrazed lands. Pilar Guzmán, Condé Nast Traveler, "Editor's Letter: The Wisdom of the Wild," 10 Oct. 2018 Cal Fire traced the fire back to a spark from an electric fence that had been installed incorrectly. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Humans are making wildfires worse, but here’s what we can do about it," 17 July 2018 Acoustic fiber has been fitted along the electrified fence and sounds an alarm if wires are cut, and thermal cameras capture movements. Helena Pozniak, Popular Mechanics, "The Technology That Will Finally Stop Poachers," 26 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It is surrounded by fencing with privacy netting, is under constant video surveillance, and there’s a gate that, if anyone opens without swiping an official privacy badge, an alarm starts to blare. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "Inside 3 Detention Centers Where Immigrant Children Are Kept From Their Parents," 18 June 2018 Bits of crooked wooden fencing stuck haphazardly and illogically out of the lush grass. Anton Troianovski, chicagotribune.com, "World Cup fans meet Russians on the world's longest train line," 14 June 2018 Eyewitnesses reported seeing the man climb over the fencing barrier on the side of the overpass around 2:30 p.m., said Officer Jennifer Peach, spokeswoman for Baltimore County Police. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Man in serious but stable condition after jumping from overpass onto I-695, Baltimore County police say," 16 Apr. 2018 The fencing contractor arranged for the city utility company to flag the water, electric and gas lines, so they wouldn't get disrupted. Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Border control: 7 steps to picking the perfect backyard fence," 12 Feb. 2018 Barbed wire fencing marks the entire two-mile-wide DMZ, and on either side of the no-fight zone, mines pepper the barren landscape and watch stations for patrolling soldiers rise along its entire length. Alice Park/goseong, Time, "A 160-Mile Demilitarized Zone Separates North and South Korea. We Visited One of the Most Remote Parts," 9 Feb. 2018 Practitioners spend hours in costumes that evoke military traditions, learning Russian military history and fencing with sharp swords, including foils, epees and sabres. Mauricio Savarese, Fox News, "World Cup host set for historical fencing to forget soccer," 1 July 2018 The developer’s banner stretching across construction fencing promises beautiful apartments, with floor-to-ceiling windows, trees and flower beds, a little pool of blue water. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "‘Where do I go now?’ In D.C., fear as a decrepit homeless shelter is finally closing.," 10 May 2018 About 500 people responded, with bullet-proof glass, door locks, metal detectors and fencing among the security items mentioned repeatedly, officials said. Leslie Postal, OrlandoSentinel.com, "School-safety measures will take time, cost a lot, districts say," 2 Apr. 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

16 May 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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