Meaning of BARRIER in English

bar ‧ ri ‧ er W3 /ˈbæriə $ -ər/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: barriere , from barre ; ⇨ ↑ bar 1 ]

1 . a rule, problem etc that prevents people from doing something, or limits what they can do:

He advocated the removal of trade barriers.

barrier to

Problems with childcare remain the biggest barrier to women succeeding at work.

barrier between

barriers between doctors and patients

2 . a type of fence or gate that prevents people from moving in a particular direction:

Crowds burst through the barriers and ran onto the pitch.

3 . a physical object that keeps two areas, people etc apart

barrier between

The mountains form a natural barrier between the two countries.

4 . the 10-second/40% etc barrier a level or amount of 10 seconds, 40% etc that is seen as a limit which it is difficult to get beyond:

I’m hoping to crash the 20-second barrier in the final and get a bronze.

⇨ ↑ sound barrier , ↑ crash barrier

• • •



▪ trade barriers (=things such as taxes that make trade between countries difficult)

The aim was to remove trade barriers and open up free markets.

▪ the language barrier (=the problem of understanding people who do not speak the same language.)

Living in China was hard for me at first because of the language barrier.

▪ cultural/racial/class barriers

Sport is a sure way to break down racial barriers.

▪ social barriers

The Internet allows people of all ages to interact without the usual social barriers.

▪ technical/legal/political barriers

Most of the technical barriers have been solved.

▪ artificial barriers

They were committed to breaking down the artificial barriers to women’s achievement.

▪ regulatory barriers

Regulatory barriers have been an obstacle to international co-operation between police forces.

▪ bureaucratic barriers

This is one of many bureacratic barriers preventing the unemployed from claiming benefit.

▪ institutional/organizational barriers

Institutional barriers limit what can be achieved.

■ verbs

▪ break/tear down barriers

Most companies have broken down the old barriers of status among the workers.

▪ cross/transcend barriers (=avoid barriers that usually exist)

Music has the great advantage of crossing cultural barriers.

▪ remove/eliminate/lift barriers

Will this remove the barriers to change?

▪ overcome barriers

There are still many more barriers that need to be overcome.

▪ reduce/lower barriers

We should be reducing barriers to imports from poor countries.

▪ erect/build/put up barriers

Some kids have erected emotional barriers that stop them from learning.

▪ create barriers

Uniforms are one of the things that create barriers.

• • •


▪ wall an upright flat structure made of stone or brick, that divides one area from another or surrounds an area:

The estate is surrounded by high stone walls.


a brick wall

▪ fence a structure made of wood, metal etc that surrounds a piece of land:

The garden was surrounded by an old wooden fence.


the chain link fence around the school

▪ railings a metal fence that is made of a series of upright bars:

the iron railings in front of the house


The boy was leaning over the railing on the side of the boat.

▪ barrier a type of fence or gate that prevents people from moving in a particular direction:

A guard stood near the barrier.


The police had put up barriers to keep the crowd under control.

▪ screen a piece of furniture like a thin wall that can be moved around and is used to divide one part of a room from another:

the screen around his hospital bed


a Japanese bamboo screen


a fire screen (=that you put near a fire)

▪ partition a thin wall that separates one part of a room from another:

The room was divided into two by a thin partition.


The offices are separated by partitions and you can hear everything that is said in the next office.

▪ barricade a line of objects that people have put across a road, to prevent people getting past, especially as part of a protest:

The soldiers used tanks to smash through the barricades.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.