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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Separately, Gulf Coast states trying to restore barrier islands have run into an unexpected obstacle — a tangle of old and abandoned pipelines. Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, 14 Oct. 2021 An issue is either a problem, obstacle, barrier, or opportunity that the leader must address. Tony Gambill, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 Port congestion in Southern California was the next obstacle. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, 12 Oct. 2021 So this was the hardest obstacle to overcome so far. Jasmin Barmore, Freep.com, 8 Oct. 2021 The other obstacle here is agreeing on the exact dollar amount for the increase. Lauren Fox, CNN, 7 Oct. 2021 If a ship’s anchor were to become entangled with an underwater obstacle such as a communications cable or petroleum pipeline, the operator is required by federal law to notify the Coast Guard. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Oct. 2021 If a ship’s anchor were to become entangled with an underwater obstacle such as a communications cable or petroleum pipeline, the operator is required by federal law to notify the Coast Guard. Michael Biesecker, Chron, 7 Oct. 2021 The tribalization of our response to masking, vaccines and other mitigation measures has been swift and extreme, and this represents a serious obstacle to preparedness. Kyle Harper, Time, 5 Oct. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About obstacle

Time Traveler for obstacle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near obstacle

obsr

obstacle

obstacle course

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for obstacle

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obstacle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstacle. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on obstacle

Nglish: Translation of obstacle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obstacle for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!