Meaning of FENCE in English


I. ˈfen(t)s noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English fens, short for defens — more at defense

1. archaic : a means of protection or security : defense

my whole body wanted a fence against heat and cold — Jonathan Swift


a. : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary

large areas of range were put under fence


(1) : a structure of posts and boards, wire, pickets, or rails commonly used as an enclosure for a field or yard

erected a fence that was horse high, hog tight, and bull strong

(2) : something legally constituting an enclosure around land (as a bank of earth high enough to confine livestock)

b. : something resembling a fence in appearance or function

a teapot rimmed with a silver fence

a fence of mountains around the valley

built a radar fence across the continent

: an immaterial barrier or boundary line

erected legislative fences to control the development of industrial and residential areas

on the other side of the fence in the argument


(1) : an obstacle met in fox hunting that can be jumped (as a fence, hedge, brook, or chicken coop)

(2) : an artificial obstacle on the course of a steeplechase or horse show : jump

d. : fencing 3

3. : fencing 4

books of fence


a. : a receiver of stolen property : a dealer in stolen goods

b. : a place where stolen goods are bought and sold


a. : an attachment to a plane, saw bench, or woodworking machine that controls the location or extent of the cut — see beading plane illustration

b. : an attachment to a marking gauge that serves to guide the marking

6. : a projection on a lock forming an obstruction to throwing the bolt except when the gatings of the tumblers are properly arranged (as by the key) to allow the fence to pass

7. : a means of political support for an officeholder, candidate, or institution : a political interest — usually used in plural

building his fences for election as governor — Springfield (Massachusetts) Daily News

the tedious, tricky, and often tense art of diplomatic fence -mending — Newsweek

8. : a fixed plate that projects from the upper surface of an airplane wing and sometimes continues around the leading edge, that is substantially parallel to the airstream, and that is used to prevent spanwise flow — called also stall fence

- on the fence

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English fensen, from fens, n.

transitive verb


a. : to surround, separate, or delineate with or as if with a fence : erect a fence around or along (as a field or boundary)

he fenced his yard with white pickets

mountains fence in the valley

fence off a corner of the sea with dikes

the canonical books are those the church has fenced off from other writings

b. : to keep in or out with or as if with a fence: as

(1) : to secure in an enclosure : confine

fence sheep

(2) : to restrict the activity of

minds that were fenced round with dogma

(3) : to ward off : repel , exclude

laws that fence out undesirable immigrants

2. : to provide a defense or screen for : give security to : protect

a motorcycle escort on each side fenced the celebrity's limousine

: shield

she had fenced his tatters even from her own eyes — Mary King

: hedge

fences his doctrines with the specious plea that statesmen must live as the world lives — Times Literary Supplement

3. Scots law

a. : to open the proceedings of (the parliament or a court of law) with a form of words forbidding persons to interrupt or obstruct the proceedings unnecessarily

b. : to secure or strengthen (a provision in a contract) by a condition (as by a clause imposing forfeiture)

4. : to sell (stolen property) with criminal intent : dispose of (stolen goods) gainfully especially to a fence

the gang stole cars and fenced them themselves

— compare receive

5. : to turn aside : evade , parry

the chairman fences awkward questions

intransitive verb


a. : to practice the art of fencing

he fences daily with a skilled foilsman

b. : to use tactics of attack and defense resembling those of fencing (as thrusting, guarding, parrying)

the tennis players fenced for an opening

c. : to baffle inquiry by equivocation or evasion : parry arguments by shifting ground

he fences skillfully on the witness stand

2. obsolete : to provide protection or security : guard or defend oneself — used with against

a constant endeavor to fence against the infirmities of ill health — Laurence Sterne

3. : to leap a fence — used of a horse and rider or a greyhound

the hunter fences leaving a safe but not wasteful space above the jump

4. : to build or repair a fence

when farmers fenced with rails

Synonyms: see dodge , enclose

- fence the tables

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.