bar·​ri·​er | \ ˈber-ē-ər How to pronounce barrier (audio) , ˈba-rē- \

Definition of barrier

1a : something material that blocks or is intended to block passage highway barriers a barrier contraceptive
b : a natural formation or structure that prevents or hinders movement or action geographic barriers to species dissemination barrier beaches drugs that cross the placental barrier
2 barriers or Barriers plural : a medieval war game in which combatants fight on foot with a fence or railing between them
3 : something immaterial that impedes or separates : obstacle behavioral barriers trade barriers

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Synonyms for barrier


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Examples of barrier in a Sentence

Concrete barriers surround the race track to protect spectators. The tree's roots serve as a barrier against soil erosion. The mountain range forms a natural barrier between the two countries. Both leaders are in favor of removing trade barriers. Cultural barriers have made it hard for women to enter many professions. He argues that regulations should not be viewed as barriers to progress.
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Recent Examples on the Web Weaver believes a major barrier to that campaign may have been money, considering a new name would require a complete branding overhaul. NBC News, 1 Oct. 2021 Another barrier in many places was the application itself; renters needed lots of documentation to prove their income and risk of entering homelessness to be eligible for funds. Camille Squires, Quartz, 28 Sep. 2021 Another barrier to Americans getting outdoors is lack of time. People Staff,, 28 Sep. 2021 The idea is to escort a robot to your barrier, which the bot pushes towards checkpoints on your side of the symmetrical map. Kris Holt, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 Another potential barrier is that CAR-T therapies have been offered mainly at medical centers with clinical trial or stem cell transplantation experience. Sophie Snyder, STAT, 25 Sep. 2021 Testing too many products and receiving several abrasive treatments within a short time frame had my skin barrier crying for help. Kirbie Johnson, Allure, 23 Sep. 2021 One barrier to solving the n-queens problem is that there are no obvious ways to simplify it. Quanta Magazine, 21 Sep. 2021 The movement’s commitment to radical participatory democracy also meant that anyone could start an Occupy; unlike the nonprofit advocacy industrial complex, the barrier to entry to Occupy was low. Micah L. Sifry, The New Republic, 17 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barrier.' 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 barrier

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for barrier

Middle English barrere, from Anglo-French, from barre bar

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Time Traveler for barrier

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near barrier



barrier berg

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barrier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for barrier



English Language Learners Definition of barrier

: something (such as a fence or natural obstacle) that prevents or blocks movement from one place to another
: a law, rule, problem, etc., that makes something difficult or impossible
: something that makes it difficult for people to understand each other


bar·​ri·​er | \ ˈber-ē-ər How to pronounce barrier (audio) \

Kids Definition of barrier

1 : something (as a fence) that blocks the way
2 : something that keeps apart or makes progress difficult a language barrier


bar·​ri·​er | \ ˈbar-ē-ər How to pronounce barrier (audio) \

Medical Definition of barrier

1a : a material object or set of objects that separates, demarcates, or serves as a barricade — see blood-brain barrier, placental barrier
b : a contraceptive device (such as a condom or cervical cap) that prevents sperm from entering the uterus often used before another noun barrier contraception
2 : a factor that tends to restrict the free movement, mingling, or interbreeding of individuals or populations behavioral and geographic barriers to hybridization

More from Merriam-Webster on barrier

Nglish: Translation of barrier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barrier for Arabic Speakers


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