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 obstructive (audio) , äb-​ \ adjective or noun
obstructiveness noun
obstructor \ əb-​ˈstrək-​tər How to pronounce obstructor (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 The president continued his campaign to undercut the prosecution of his ally, who is to be sentenced this week for lying to Congress and obstructing the probe of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Josh Petri, Bloomberg.com, "Your Evening Briefing," 10 May 2020 She was taken outside to a squad car then issued two citations — for obstructing an officer and resisting arrest — before being released. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kenosha woman arrested after trying to attend County Board meeting closed to public as part of coronavirus protections," 6 May 2020 He was issued one summons for violating an emergency act, and another for obstructing the law. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "New Jersey man charged for throwing "corona party" with 47 people in his 550-square-foot apartment," 30 Mar. 2020 Such a sentence would send a message to deter others who might consider lying or obstructing a congressional probe or tampering with witnesses, the prosecutors said. Ashraf Khalil, Time, "Roger Stone Is Sentenced to 40 Months in Federal Prison as Trump Says He Won't Pardon Him — Yet," 20 Feb. 2020 Stone, 67, was convicted of tampering with a witness, lying under oath, and obstructing a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election. Sharon Lafraniere, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump attacks Stone prosecutors and judge, ignoring Barr’s admonishment," 18 Feb. 2020 The prosecutors said Stone should get seven to nine years in prison for obstructing justice. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Is Joe Biden toast? States that matter are about to tell us," 15 Feb. 2020 On Monday, prosecutors recommended a harsh seven-to-nine-year sentence after Stone’s conviction for lying to Congress and obstructing justice. The Editors, National Review, "Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets," 14 Feb. 2020 Stone is now standing trial for allegedly lying to Congress, obstructing justice and witness tampering after getting swept up in the Mueller probe. Washington Post, "Debunked Ukraine conspiracy theory is knocked down - again," 13 Nov. 2019

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

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obstruct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstruct. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for obstruct


How to pronounce obstruct (audio)

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.
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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