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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Oath Keepers members are accused of plotting to obstruct Congress' certification of the 2020 presidential election results in support of Trump, traveling to the nation's capital ahead of Jan 6., and coordinating their movements during the riot. Robert Legare, CBS News, 28 Sep. 2022 Aerosols can obstruct sunlight and limit heat entering the planet. Arjun Thakkar, Freep.com, 2 Sep. 2022 Factors like atmospheric moisture, precipitation, and terrain can all obstruct or limit that signal. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 26 Aug. 2022 Still, even amid a resurgence of judicial skepticism, more than a few roadblocks obstruct the path to any potential Frankfurter revival. Justin Driver, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2022 Federal prosecutors now allege that sometime that same day, Bateman and others deleted messages on Signal in an alleged attempt to obstruct a prosecution. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Sep. 2022 He was acquitted of a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge accusing him of fixing the 2008 trial. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 14 Sep. 2022 Arguing before a judge, the Department of Justice suggested there were efforts to conceal and possibly obstruct their investigation. Ken Tran, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2022 The most extreme example of an Oath Keepers effort to obstruct an action that the group deems unconstitutional was reportedly the Capitol riots. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 7 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About obstruct

Time Traveler for obstruct

Time Traveler

The first known use of obstruct was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near obstruct




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for obstruct

Last Updated

1 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obstruct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstruct. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for obstruct


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

More from Merriam-Webster on obstruct

Nglish: Translation of obstruct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obstruct for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!