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

And then Colton hoists his entire body over the fence. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "'The Bachelor' Recap: The Fence, It Hath Been Jumped," 5 Mar. 2019 Most satellites in low-Earth orbit pass through the fence multiple times a day. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Space Junk Could Provide a Perfect Hiding Spot for Tiny Spy Satellites," 30 Nov. 2018 During Sunday's protest, many attempted to get through the fence that separates Mexico and the U.S. between San Diego and Tijuana. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Border Patrol Agents Used Tear Gas to Disperse Hundreds of People in the Migrant Caravan," 26 Nov. 2018 Border Patrol fired off shots at a group trying to go through the fence. Dara Lind, Vox, "How a march at the US-Mexico border descended into tear gas and chaos," 26 Nov. 2018 Thousands of Palestinians are streaming toward the fence separating Gaza from Israel for a protest against the decade-long blockade of their territory. Ilan Ben Zion, Jewish Journal, "Rights group: Israeli lethal force in Gaza may be war crime," 13 June 2018 Given all the uncertainty, customers are on the fence about placing large orders or moving forward with bigger projects, Mr. Riley said. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "A Tale of Two Steel Firms and Their Diverging Paths Under Trump’s Tariffs," 10 Feb. 2019 These cars tend to have a small, cultish following—and the fixed expiration date tends to draw buyers who’ve been on the fence. Kyle Stock, Bloomberg.com, "The Sedan is Dying, So It’s Time to Buy One," 25 June 2018 Despite the detective work regarding where the sample came from, many fans have remained on the fence regarding the clip. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "The Light Is Coming" Contains a Vocal Sample With a Hidden Political Meaning," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The omnibus spending bill Trump signed in March includes $1.6 billion for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, not for Trump’s wall. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Two Trump speeches, two dozen dubious claims," 9 Apr. 2018 Plans to replace fencing along that part of the border began under President Barack Obama's administration, but CBP didn't receive the $18 million needed to proceed until last year. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Rep. Ruben Gallego: Don't use defense dollars to build border wall," 30 Mar. 2018 The Senate bill would have extended current funding for the Homeland Security Department, including money for fencing, bollard barriers, levees and technology—but not a concrete barrier. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "The Wall Funding Deals Trump Rejected," 14 Jan. 2019 In the end, all that is slated to be included is $1.6 billion in border security, which includes millions for 33 miles of new border fencing that was already authorized through the 2006 Secure Fence Act. Deirdre Walsh, CNN, "Congress set to unveil $1.3 trillion spending package, includes background check bill," 21 Mar. 2018 The Trump administration is planning to build 250 miles of border fencing that will cut across South Texas ranch land from Laredo to McAllen, Congressman Henry Cuellar said Wednesday. Jason Buch, San Antonio Express-News, "Plans for Trump border fence released," 31 Jan. 2018 With Gaza fenced off, the border area is closely watched by Hamas. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Palestinians offer new details of Israel’s botched Gaza raid," 12 Dec. 2018 Instead of trying to fence them out, why not reshape the conversation to ask which resources would be necessary to welcome these families into the melting pot and how they could be provided by nongovernmental resources? WSJ, "The ‘Golden Door’ for 21st Century America," 28 Sep. 2018 The popular fenced-in back patio is often crowded with clusters of die-hard beer lovers and local breweries tasting their way through new arrivals and limited releases. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Bars in Austin," 27 Feb. 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

21 Mar 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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