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 Rena Mellerson had been charged with second-degree assault, obstructing and hindering and resisting or interfering with the arrest of her granddaughter, Cierra Floyd, according to police. Washington Post, "Local Digest: Cherry blossoms set to peak earlier than usual," 10 Mar. 2020 In November, Stone was convicted of witness tampering, lying to the House Intelligence Committee, and obstructing its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "“A grave threat”: More than 1,100 ex-DOJ officials call on Bill Barr to resign," 16 Feb. 2020 The famously flamboyant, infamously tricky adviser to President Trump, who was convicted on charges of lying to and obstructing Congress, witness tampering, and multiple other charges? Graeme Mcmillan, Wired, "While You Were Offline: Seriously, What's Going On at the Justice Department?," 16 Feb. 2020 Last year, the Justice Department charged Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, with outlining a decade-long attempt by the company to steal trade secrets, obstruct a criminal investigation and evade economic sanctions on Iran. David Mccabe, New York Times, "U.S. Charges Huawei With Racketeering, Adding Pressure on China," 13 Feb. 2020 Stone was convicted in November of tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. Michael Balsamo, ajc, "Attorney general: Trump’s tweets make it ‘impossible for me to do my job’," 13 Feb. 2020 The suspect was transported to a hospital for an evaluation and then to the Milwaukee County Jail, and is potentially facing charges of battery to a law enforcement officer, obstructing and resisting arrest. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "3 sheriff's deputies injured detaining suspect," 20 Jan. 2020 They were all charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, a spokesperson for the department told CNN. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Joaquin Phoenix and Martin Sheen arrested in Jane Fonda's weekly climate change protests," 10 Jan. 2020 All were charged with crowding and obstructing or incommoding, Malecki said. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Joaquin Phoenix arrested during Jane Fonda's weekly climate change protest," 10 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

24 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

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