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

She is charged with racial harassment, obstructing and second-degree assault. Monique Judge, The Root, "Police: Black Woman Who Said ‘I Hate White People’ Before Attacking Passengers on Bus Charged With Hate Crime," 19 June 2018 This time, Manafort and a business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, have been charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with alleged tampering with potential witnesses. Christina Bellantoni, latimes.com, "Watch these congressional races in November," 11 June 2018 Most think that Stewart was found guilty of insider trading in 2004, but she was actually charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and lying to the FBI, felonies that are central to the ongoing Mueller investigation. John Patrick Pullen, Fortune, "Trump’s Proposed Stewart and Blagojevich Pardons Aren’t About The Apprentice. And They Aren’t Random, Either," 31 May 2018 Viner and Gaskill are charged together with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, while Gaskill is charged alone with wire fraud and two counts of obstruction of justice. NBC News, "Three — including the intended victim — charged in Kansas 'swatting' death," 24 May 2018 Patmon, who suffered scrapes and bruises, was taken into a nearby hospital and later charged with obstructing an officer and violating his probation, police said. Tim Stelloh /, NBC News, "Georgia officer fired after body camera shows him ram fleeing suspect," 3 June 2018 Christopher Lee Meade, 46, of the 2300 block of Bryansville Road in Delta, Pa., was charged Monday with resisting arrest, obstructing and hindering police, failure to obey a lawful police order and possession of drug paraphernalia. Erika Butler, The Aegis, "Harford County police blotter," 10 May 2018 Monica Walters-Wolfe, a 34-year-old Nampa woman, was arrested at the scene and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and misdemeanor resisting and obstructing arrest. Nicole Blanchard, idahostatesman, "Boise police ID 'suspicious person' who sent junior high school into lockdown | Idaho Statesman," 8 May 2018 But part of the stage’s circumference was obstructed by equipment, which forced more people to one area of the circle and extended the crowd down the hill. Erin Richards, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eaux Claires IV review: Day 1 music," 7 July 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

4 Nov 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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