verb ob·struct \ əb-ˈstrəkt , äb- \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

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.


play \əb-ˈstrək-tiv, äb-\ adjective or noun




play \əb-ˈstrək-tər, äb-\ noun

Examples of obstruct in a Sentence

  1. A large tree obstructed the road.

  2. A piece of food obstructed his airway and caused him to stop breathing.

  3. She was charged with obstructing police.

  4. She was charged with obstructing justice by lying to investigators.

Recent Examples of obstruct from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of obstruct

Latin obstructus, past participle of obstruere, from ob- in the way + struere to build, heap up — more at ob-, strew

Synonym Discussion of 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

OBSTRUCT Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of obstruct for English Language Learners

  • : 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

OBSTRUCT Defined for Kids


verb ob·struct \ əb-ˈstrəkt \

Definition of obstruct for Students

obstructed; obstructing
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.

Word Root of obstruct

The Latin word struere, meaning “to build,” and its form structus give us the root struct. Words from the Latin struere have something to do with building. A structure is something that was built, such as a house. To construct is to build by combining parts together. To obstruct is to build an obstacle that blocks a passage or path. Destruction is the process of taking apart something that was built.

Medical Dictionary


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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to praise usually to excess

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