obstacle

noun
ob·​sta·​cle | \ ˈäb-sti-kəl How to pronounce obstacle (audio) , -ˌsti-\

Definition of obstacle

: something that impedes progress or achievement Mosquitoes were a great obstacle to the building of the Panama Canal. … elders … often facing daily medical, social, and psychological obstacles.— Vicki Bloom and B. B. Green-Field

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Examples of obstacle in a Sentence

He overcame the obstacles of poverty and neglect. They must overcome a number of obstacles before the restaurant can be opened. Lack of experience is a major obstacle for her opponent. She swerved to avoid an obstacle in the road.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The salt also helps to draw out moisture, which is an obstacle that may prevent skin from crisping. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Cook Perfectly Crispy Chicken Thighs Every Time," 25 Feb. 2019 Having to engineer a new car around the system is an obstacle in an era where cars typically go seven to ten years between expensive redesigns, and the industry is still feeling out the recent explosion of complex safety systems and sensor suites. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Your Next Car Could Have Airbags That Inflate on the Outside," 15 Feb. 2019 But there was actually another obstacle Remy wasn't expecting: Her wardrobe. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "A ‘House Hunters’ Realtor Reveals the One Thing That Shocked Her About Being on the Show," 21 Jan. 2019 But because one of those Republicans, Senator John McCain of Arizona, is absent with cancer and unlikely to be on hand for future votes, the resistance of a single Republican could be an obstacle to confirmation. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "McConnell Promises Fall Vote to Confirm Next Supreme Court Justice," 27 June 2018 But for some Georgians, the initial cost can be an insurmountable obstacle. Christopher Quinn, ajc, "Costs of starting and not finishing college are high," 23 June 2018 Not being taken seriously is an obstacle many young entrepreneurs face. Joyce M. Rosenberg, USA TODAY, "Young entrepreneurs struggled to overcome age bias," 13 June 2018 Today, Lava Falls is the biggest obstacle facing teams attempting to set the speed record (currently 34 hours and two minutes) down the canyon. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, "Setting a Speed Record Through the Grand Canyon," 24 May 2018 This is great news for brain cancer patients who have developed a resistance to chemotherapy, a proven obstacle to successful treatment. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Nanoparticles That Zap and Kill Cancer Cells Are a Small Solution to Huge Disease," 9 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obstacle.' 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 obstacle

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obstacle

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin obstaculum, from obstare to stand in front of, from ob- in the way + stare to stand — more at ob-, stand

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Statistics for obstacle

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for obstacle

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

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More Definitions for obstacle

obstacle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of obstacle

: something that makes it difficult to do something
: an object that you have to go around or over : something that blocks your path

obstacle

noun
ob·​sta·​cle | \ ˈäb-stə-kəl How to pronounce obstacle (audio) \

Kids Definition of obstacle

: something that stands in the way or opposes : hindrance

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More from Merriam-Webster on obstacle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obstacle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obstacle

Spanish Central: Translation of obstacle

Nglish: Translation of obstacle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obstacle for Arabic Speakers

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