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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 His parents say Sergio and his friends were playing a game by running up the incline on the U.S. side, touching the fence there and running back into Mexican territory. Greg Stohr, Bloomberg.com, "Cross-Border Shooting Suit Tossed by Divided Supreme Court," 10 May 2020 One afternoon, my 7-year-old accidently kicked the ball over our neighbor’s fence. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Gay servicemember worries about family bond," 10 May 2020 The mathematician laughed at the others, and then proceeded to build the winning fence. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Solve It: Can You Build the Farmer's Fence?," 7 May 2020 Will a cheap fare be enough to push you off the fence? Chris Mcginnis, Houston Chronicle, "Southwest Airlines launches first summer fare sale. Wait. What?," 5 May 2020 Decks and trellis fences or screens made from natural wood and wood-look finishes can help integrate outdoor spaces with their surroundings. Kristina Mcguirk, Better Homes & Gardens, "This Year's Outdoor Living Trends Bring the Comforts of Indoors to Your Backyard," 30 Apr. 2020 Barricades and fences went up on the main highways. Laura Yale, Outside Online, "The Colorado Town That Learned from the 1918 Flu," 27 Apr. 2020 Loose plants along the fence (such as salvia, lamb’s ears, and artemisia) soften the structured boxwoods. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, "See How One Alabama Family Transformed a Starter House Into Their Forever Home," 25 Apr. 2020 This weekend’s concerts are just a flex on how hard Epic Games is swinging for the fences. Washington Post, "Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert was a live online experience for the ages, if a bit short," 24 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Enter into the foyer and hallway, which leads to an en suite guest room with views of the fenced-in front garden. Dallas News, "Michael Domke holds open townhome with views of skyline," 23 Feb. 2020 The Bureau of Prisons began plans to install lethal fencing in federal prisons in 2006 for the same reason. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "US prison fences designed to kill may be illegal under international law," 27 Nov. 2019 Don’t fence it off, mow it, level it and, above all, don’t cut it down. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "Behind the Story: How I learned to love ‘rez golf’," 17 Oct. 2019 Harlem was surrounded by warehouses that kind of fenced us in. Scott Luxor, sun-sentinel.com, "Harlem McBride: Oakland Park’s ‘forgotten city’ finds itself on the rise," 12 Sep. 2019 The new owners plan to fence it in at a cost of $3,325. Thomas Jewell, cleveland.com, "Shaker Heights ponies up for Clean & Safe program, busway in Van Aken District," 2 Sep. 2019 The father of a 9-year-old Detroit girl who was mauled to death by three pit bulls Monday had recently argued with the dogs' owners about properly fencing them in, family said. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Dad of 9-year-old Detroit girl mauled to death by pit bulls had argued with owner, family says," 21 Aug. 2019 Although $1 million in advance tickets had been sold, without fencing in place, 50,000 fans poured onto the grounds more than a day before the show began. Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Creating Woodstock': Film Review," 14 Aug. 2019 As a brief scene-setting prologue showing Banks watching kids playing football underlines, skill on the football field has always signified freedom to him, the feeling that nothing could fence him in or keep him down. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Aldis Hodge shines in ‘Brian Banks’ as a man fighting to clear his name," 8 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for fence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fence

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fence. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for fence

fence

noun
How to pronounce fence (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fence

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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