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

And with no obstacles, Cheniere could charge forward. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "America's New Energy Coast," 19 Mar. 2019 Small dogs can hike but need help around obstacles. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Hiking With Your Dog," 12 Feb. 2019 For example, Natives in North Dakota were presented with an unexpected obstacle in getting to the voting booth just a few weeks ago. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "Native Voters Explain Why the Midterms Matter," 2 Nov. 2018 But Horie has dealt with obstacles including not only prison time, but dwindling resources. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Japan's Latest Attempt at Private Spaceflight Fails on Liftoff," 1 July 2018 However, Germany's path to the second round is littered with obstacles as all four Group F teams can still qualify. Justin Davis, chicagotribune.com, "Germany, Brazil, Mexico play for their World Cup lives in group stage finale," 27 June 2018 But even with such obstacles, Centola says the tipping point predicted in his model remains well below 50 percent. David Noonan, Scientific American, "The 25% Revolution—How Big Does a Minority Have to Be to Reshape Society?," 8 June 2018 Aston Martin Lagonda faces obstacles worthy of a Bond film on its growth path. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Aston Martin’s Risky Road to Riches," 28 Feb. 2019 But pure physics dictates that putting an obstacle in the way of any pathogens is preferable to just spewing them into the air without any barriers. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "Here’s How Far Germs Spread Through Sneezing and Coughing," 13 Feb. 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

26 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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