fence

noun, often attributive
\ ˈfen(t)s How to pronounce fence (audio) \

Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : a means of protection : defense
2a : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary especially : such a barrier made of posts and wire or boards
b : an immaterial barrier or boundary line on the other side of the fence in the argument
4a : a receiver of stolen goods
b : a place where stolen goods are bought
on the fence
: in a position of neutrality or indecision

fence

verb
fenced; fencing

Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to enclose with a fence
b(1) : to keep in or out with a fence
(2) : to ward off
2 : to provide a defense for
3 : to sell (stolen property) to a fence

intransitive verb

1a : to practice fencing
b(1) : to use tactics of attack and defense resembling those of fencing
(2) : to parry arguments by shifting ground
2 archaic : to provide protection

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fence

Noun

fenceless \ ˈfen(t)s-​ləs How to pronounce fenceless (audio) \ adjective
fencelessness noun

Verb

fencer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for fence

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of fence in a Sentence

Noun We put up a fence around our yard. the only way to prevent motorists from trying to use that unsafe bridge is to put a fence across the road leading to it Verb a house with a fenced-in yard He stole watches and fenced them on the street.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After about 40 minutes, the drone located two people hiding behind a backyard fence in the 20700 block of Tealbrook Drive, according to the release. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "Houston-area constable uses drone to catch suspected car thieves," 7 Jan. 2020 After vandals attempted to set fire to the 10-foot statue and wrote racist graffiti on it, authorities erected a fence around it and hired security guards to keep watch. Austin Knoblauch, Los Angeles Times, "Vandals topple Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s statue in Sweden," 5 Jan. 2020 In a video released by the sheriff’s office showing helicopter surveillance footage, Willis walks through a backyard and hops a fence. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Vehicle theft suspect in custody after leading police on chase through East Bay," 4 Jan. 2020 Montgomery hit a fence near South 12th Street and West Main Street before the pursuit made its way to Broadway — one of Louisville's busiest thoroughfares. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville police chase ends in crash days after controversial policy extended," 3 Jan. 2020 Apart from the snowboard hill on the Tverskaya, a stash of snow was also spotted on Red Square, surrounded by a fence — as though to keep people from stealing any — and another appeared in the new Zaradye Park nearby. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Amid Balmy Winter, Moscow Trucked in Heaps of Fake Snow. A Blizzard Ensued.," 30 Dec. 2019 Roach may not have realized it then, but that work would set him on a path that a few years later would begin mending fences long torn asunder in the community. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Bryan Roach considered leaving IMPD during a challenging time. He became chief instead.," 18 Dec. 2019 Phillips crouched in the alley, hiding behind a wooden fence that screens the police station's generator, Reynolds said. Arkansas Online, "Video details final steps of Northwest Arkansas killer," 14 Dec. 2019 When Ireland first met Shah, the ninth-grader was repeatedly driving and reverse chipping balls against a fence. Jacob Calvin Meyer, baltimoresun.com, "Mt. Hebron’s Esha Shah scores Howard County field hockey Player of the Year award," 11 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Columbia University fencing team, at White House for Champions Day, was not allowed to give Trump letter on gender issues. Evan Hilbert, USA TODAY, "Man's dying wish was to see an Iowa Hawkeyes football game. He did just that on Saturday," 25 Nov. 2019 Outside, scores of people, many of them senior high school students began to gather around a nearby fenced-in pasture. Annie Gentile, courant.com, "Cow Chip Raffle Raises Funds For Safe Graduation Night," 15 Nov. 2019 With the election 14 months away and hundreds of miles of fencing plans still in blueprint form, Trump has held regular White House meetings for progress updates and to hasten the pace, according to several people involved in the discussions. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump offers to pardon aides worried about wrongdoing in push for border wall, officials say," 28 Aug. 2019 Brand was appointed as Harvard's head fencing coach in 1999, moving from a role at Brown University. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Harvard head fencing coach accused of selling his home to the family of a prospective student has been fired," 9 July 2019 There was also the Paralympic fencing champion Bebe Vio, Italian actress Isabella Ferrari, and Delfina Delettrez Fendi and Silvia Fendi. Giacomo Minazzi, Vogue, "At the World Premiere of Nuit Blanche, Costumed by Dior, Fashion and Ballet Collided Gracefully Onstage," 1 Apr. 2019 Dutch bank Rabobank, New Zealand fencing company Gallagher Group Ltd. and U.S. venture-capital firms Promus Ventures and Eniac Ventures have invested in some startups that see a big opportunity in the billion-plus global cattle population. Mike Cherney, WSJ, "The Next Big Thing in Agriculture: Smart Collars for Cows," 2 Apr. 2018 Chain link is the most popular fencing system in the world. Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Border control: 7 steps to picking the perfect backyard fence," 12 Feb. 2018 Trump’s signature campaign promise has consistently faced political, legal and environmental obstacles in Texas, which has the largest section of the U.S.-Mexico border, most of it without fencing. Nomaan Merchant, SFChronicle.com, "US accelerates eminent domain lawsuits for border wall construction," 22 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fence

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for fence

Noun

Middle English fens, short for defens, defense defense entry 1

Verb

Middle English fensen, derivative of fens fence entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fence

Time Traveler for fence

Time Traveler

The first known use of fence was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fence

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fence.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/on%20the%20fence. Accessed 22 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fence

fence

noun
How to pronounce fence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a structure like a wall built outdoors usually of wood or metal that separates two areas or prevents people or animals from entering or leaving
informal : a person who buys stolen property from thieves and sells it

fence

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a fence around (a place or area)
: to keep (something or someone) in or out with a fence
: to fight with swords : to practice the art or sport of fencing

fence

noun
\ ˈfens How to pronounce fence (audio) \

Kids Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a barrier (as of wood or wire) to prevent escape or entry or to mark a boundary

fence

verb
fenced; fencing

Kids Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to enclose with a fence fence a yard
2 : to fight with swords : to practice the sport of fencing

Other Words from fence

fencer noun

fence

noun

Legal Definition of fence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary
2a : a receiver of stolen goods
b : a place where stolen goods are bought
fenced; fencing

Legal Definition of fence (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to enclose with a fence
b : to keep in or out with a fence
2 : to sell (stolen property) to a fence

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fence

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fence

Spanish Central: Translation of fence

Nglish: Translation of fence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fence for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fence

Comments on fence

What made you want to look up fence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to help to grow, develop, or succeed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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