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 Investigators determined Subleski fired his rifle at one vehicle that attempted to circumvent the group's attempt to obstruct traffic. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Authorities arrest two suspected Boogaloo Boi militia members after law enforcement threatened," 12 Feb. 2021 The questions pivot around how to share power in a 50-50 Senate and whether McConnell will be willing to limit the use of the filibuster to obstruct Biden’s efforts to fight Covid and rebuild the economy. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Uncertain Promise of Biden’s Presidency," 20 Jan. 2021 During a get-out-the-vote rally in Cleveland on Saturday, Democratic vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris said people must overcome any attempt to obstruct their vote, adding that the path to the White House runs through Ohio. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "What other issues are at stake in the 2020 presidential election? The Wake Up for Monday, Oct. 26, 2020," 26 Oct. 2020 Some progressives believe that Mr. Manchin, Ms. Sinema and others may change their minds if Republicans obstruct the Democratic agenda. New York Times, "Biden Won’t Budge on the Senate Filibuster. Why Aren’t Progressives Pushing Him?," 27 Jan. 2021 Barr also made public his own finding that Trump did not obstruct justice after Mueller declined to take a definitive position on that question in his own report. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Barr in the middle: MAGA angry about no indictments, while liberals say he’s a Trump hack," 16 Oct. 2020 Some complain the new homes dwarf neighboring houses, obstruct residents’ views or just don’t look right in their surroundings. Katy Read, Star Tribune, "Excelsior residents are divided over tight new zoning rule," 29 Sep. 2020 While this spot offers cooler temperatures and privacy, awkward layouts or lower ceilings might obstruct some moves (like jumping rope or jumping jacks), and concrete floors aren’t exactly friendly to joints. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "The Ultimate Guide to Home Fitness," 13 Jan. 2021 And the concerns that Trump and sympathetic Republicans might actively work to stymie or obstruct the full counting of votes this time around are well justified. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Ridiculous Wargaming of the 2020 Election," 14 Sep. 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

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obstruct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstruct. Accessed 28 Feb. 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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Comments on obstruct

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