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 He was apprehended, and the woman who was driving the car was arrested on a charge of obstructing official business. Cheryl Higley, cleveland, "Fugitive caught, driver charged: North Ridgeville Police Blotter," 22 Feb. 2020 The letter condemns Barr for overriding four line prosecutors' recommendations of a seven- to nine-year sentence for Trump’s longtime friend, Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted of obstructing a Congressional inquiry. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "4 former Kentucky federal prosecutors join the call for AG William Barr's resignation," 20 Feb. 2020 Roger Stone is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Washington at 10 a.m. The veteran Republican operative was found guilty in November of obstructing justice, witness tampering and five counts of lying to Congress. Rick Klein And, ABC News, "The Note: Campaign takes late turn toward sharp contrasts," 20 Feb. 2020 After prosecutors on Monday recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for Stone, who was convicted of obstructing a congressional inquiry, Trump lashed out at federal law enforcement. Katie Benner, BostonGlobe.com, "More than 1,000 former Justice Department lawyers and officials press for Barr to step down as attorney general," 16 Feb. 2020 Stone was found guilty of five separate counts of lying to the House Intelligence Committee and two charges of obstructing a congressional investigation and intimidating a witness. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Three Mueller prosecutors abruptly withdraw from Roger Stone case," 11 Feb. 2020 Police provided no additional details about the true nature of the incident or motivation for the false report, only adding that no charges beyond a citation of obstructing police, issued to the fake victim, were expected to be filed. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A man claimed he was robbed at gunpoint in Waukesha. It never happened, police say.," 30 Jan. 2020 Despite being accused by police of obstructing their investigation, Blackwell was never charged in the case. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Mark Dantonio cut ties with Curtis Blackwell from Italy; didn't want Michigan to steal him," 30 Jan. 2020 He was previously charged with five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion in an attempt to kill. CBS News, "Hanukkah stabbing suspect pleads not guilty to federal hate crime charges," 13 Jan. 2020

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

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obstruct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstruct. Accessed 25 Feb. 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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