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

The tweets Monday come after Democrats have sounded the cry for an impeachment investigation, fueled by allegations that Trump has obstructed justice and is profiting off of his time in office. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump says Democrats should look into Barack and Michelle Obama's books, Netflix deals," 17 Sep. 2019 Earnest also faces a 113-count federal indictment alleging hate crimes, using a firearm and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by using a dangerous weapon resulting in death and injury. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Evidence in case involving accused Poway synagogue shooter to be laid out in court," 17 Sep. 2019 The woman was additionally charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest. Brian Lisik, cleveland.com, "Combative couple arrested for disorderly conduct: Brunswick Police Blotter," 15 Sep. 2019 Pullman and Lynch were also charged with attempting to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation into the matter by manipulating subpoenaed records. BostonGlobe.com, "The embattled former president of the Massachusetts State Police union was indicted Thursday on a host of federal charges — including racketeering and conspiracy — that could land him in federal prison for decades.," 13 Sep. 2019 Student’s hair shall be clean and well groomed at all times and shall not obstruct vision. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Texas School Accused of Saying 4-Year-Old Boy with Long Hair Must Cut It or Identify as a Girl," 13 Sep. 2019 Secondly, El Tri harassed, obstructed and largely eliminated Michael Bradley (who’s not in camp this month) as a conduit in possession. Brian Straus, SI.com, "USMNT Eyes Litmus Test for Progress, Not Revenge, in Mexico Rematch," 5 Sep. 2019 As part of the probe, Democrats plan to explore whether the investigation was stymied or obstructed. Anchorage Daily News, "Congressional Dems to probe Trump’s alleged role in scheme to silence affair accusations," 3 Sep. 2019 Police on Wednesday morning formally charged Shadden with first-degree robbery, unlawful breaking and entering of a vehicle and obstructing justice. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Hoover robbery victim holds knife-wielding suspect at gunpoint until police arrive," 28 Aug. 2019

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

7 Oct 2019

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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on obstruct

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obstruct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obstruct

Spanish Central: Translation of obstruct

Nglish: Translation of obstruct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obstruct for Arabic Speakers

Comments on obstruct

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a bell tower

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