ob·​struct | \ əb-ˈstrəkt How to pronounce obstruct (audio) , äb- \
obstructed; obstructing; obstructs

Definition of obstruct

transitive verb

1 : to block or close up by an obstacle A piece of food obstructed his airway. The road was obstructed by a fallen tree.
2 : to hinder from passage, action, or operation : impede Constant interruptions obstruct our progress. was charged with obstructing justice by lying to investigators
3 : to cut off from sight A wall obstructs the view.

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Other Words from obstruct

obstructive \ əb-​ˈstrək-​tiv How to pronounce obstruct (audio) , äb-​ \ adjective or noun
obstructiveness noun
obstructor \ əb-​ˈstrək-​tər How to pronounce obstruct (audio) , äb-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for obstruct

hinder, impede, obstruct, block mean to interfere with the activity or progress of. hinder stresses causing harmful or annoying delay or interference with progress. rain hindered the climb impede implies making forward progress difficult by clogging, hampering, or fettering. tight clothing that impedes movement obstruct implies interfering with something in motion or in progress by the sometimes intentional placing of obstacles in the way. the view was obstructed by billboards block implies complete obstruction to passage or progress. a landslide blocked the road

Examples of obstruct in a Sentence

A large tree obstructed the road. A piece of food obstructed his airway and caused him to stop breathing. She was charged with obstructing police. She was charged with obstructing justice by lying to investigators.
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Recent Examples on the Web Instead, McConnell is plotting his course in the Senate, complete with plans to further obstruct the Biden agenda. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Cheney sees 'turning point' for party already turned to Trump: The Note," 6 May 2021 But Trump’s endorsement of Harrison, a day before early voting ended, could have helped obstruct Harrison’s ride in the Trump lane. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "Republicans Jake Ellzey, Susan Wright leading in the race to replace the late Ron Wright in Congress," 1 May 2021 Nordean, of Washington state, and Biggs, of Florida, are alleged to have conspired to hinder Congress' actions and obstruct law enforcement, along with destruction of federal property. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "Proud Boys leaders from Florida, Seattle ordered into custody on new Capitol riot evidence," 19 Apr. 2021 Far from demonstrating the workings of a great deliberative body, the filibuster had been used for decades to obstruct civil-rights legislation and perpetuate segregation. WSJ, "Don’t Credit the Filibuster for Civil-Rights Legislation," 16 Apr. 2021 The vinyl sheets could not cover or obstruct cabinet air vents, door handles, key holes, hinges or seams. Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times, "A formerly homeless artist made a gift to Los Angeles. What happened next was a surprise," 4 Apr. 2021 But some Republican lawmakers have launched efforts to oppose any new gun control and to obstruct attempts to erect barriers to gun ownership. Washington Post, "Man armed with five guns and body armor arrested inside Atlanta grocery store, police said," 25 Mar. 2021 And others are pointing to the historical role the filibuster has played in delaying the passage of civil rights legislation to argue that the Senate should no longer allow an archaic rule to obstruct progress. Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner, "Legal expert dismisses 'absurd' Democratic claims filibuster is rooted in racism," 19 Mar. 2021 However, many current school practices do more to obstruct than foster the inclination and ability to seek new information, evaluate its reliability, and use it to form rather than shore up opinions. Susan Engel, Time, "Many Kids Ask Fewer Questions When They Start School. Here's How Teachers Can Foster Their Curiosity," 23 Feb. 2021

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

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obstruct

Latin obstructus, past participle of obstruere, from ob- in the way + struere to build, heap up — more at ob-, strew

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Time Traveler for obstruct

Time Traveler

The first known use of obstruct was in 1590

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Statistics for obstruct

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obstruct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstruct. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for obstruct



English Language Learners Definition of obstruct

somewhat formal
: to block (something, such as a pipe or street) so that things cannot move through easily
: to slow or block the movement, progress, or action of (something or someone)
: to be in front of (something) : to make (something) difficult to see


ob·​struct | \ əb-ˈstrəkt How to pronounce obstruct (audio) \
obstructed; obstructing

Kids Definition of obstruct

1 : to block or make passage through difficult A fallen tree is obstructing the road.
2 : to be or come in the way of : hinder She was uncooperative and obstructed the investigation.
3 : to make (something) difficult to see The new building obstructs their view of the ocean.


transitive verb
ob·​struct | \ əb-ˈstrəkt, äb- How to pronounce obstruct (audio) \

Medical Definition of obstruct

: to block or close up by an obstacle veins obstructed by clots

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