ob·struct | \ əb-ˈstrəkt , 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, äb- \ adjective or noun
obstructiveness noun
obstructor \əb-ˈstrək-tər, 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

The jury found 29-year-old Jonathan Gapp guilty as party to the crime of first-degree reckless homicide and resisting or obstructing an officer. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jury finds Dousman man guilty of homicide for role in girlfriend's fatal overdose," 13 July 2018 He is expected to face charges of domestic assault and resisting and obstructing a police officer. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Oakland County deputy suffers facial gash in tussle with suspect," 4 July 2018 Vince Vaughn‘s mugshot has been released after the actor was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning for a DUI and resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer. Melody Chiu, ajc, "Vince Vaughn grins in mugshot released after DUI arrest in California," 11 June 2018 Vince Vaughn‘s mugshot has been released after the actor was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning for a DUI and resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer. Melody Chiu, PEOPLE.com, "Vince Vaughn Grins in Mugshot Released After DUI Arrest in California," 10 June 2018 Patmon was charged with violating probation and obstructing a law enforcement officer after being relesed from the hospital, Fox 5 reported. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Georgia cop fired after hitting suspect fleeing on foot with his patrol car," 3 June 2018 Police said Brown resisted or obstructed an officer, which is a misdemeanor, according to the report. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "Officers involved in arrest of NBA's Sterling Brown disciplined, police chief says," 23 May 2018 The Milwaukee Police Department on Wednesday released a video of Milwaukee Bucks rookie guard Sterling Brown being arrested in January for the misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Examining Sterling Brown's Legal Options After Milwaukee Arrest Video Release," 23 May 2018 The Shaker Heights man, 32, was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing official business. Andy Attina / Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Man arrested when officers arrive to arrest his brother: Richmond Heights Police Blotter," 9 May 2018

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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Statistics for obstruct

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obstruct

The first known use of obstruct was in 1590

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More Definitions for obstruct



English Language Learners Definition of obstruct

: 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 \
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- \

Medical Definition of obstruct 

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

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Comments on obstruct

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