Definition of fence in English:

fence

Syllabification: fence
Pronunciation: /fens
 
/

noun

  • 1A barrier, railing, or other upright structure, typically of wood or wire, enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control access, or prevent escape.
    More example sentences
    • South Korean news agency Yonhap said the group cut through a wire fence to gain access to the school grounds in a northern suburb of Beijing early Friday.
    • They broke the wire fence to the play area along with the overflow pipe to the drinking fountain.
    • Very good control using a wire fence is essential for any kind of utilisation.
    Synonyms
    barrier, fencing, enclosure, barricade, stockade, palisade, fenceline; railing
  • 1.1A large upright obstacle used in equestrian jumping events.
    More example sentences
    • Lake was injured when his mount jumped poorly at the next-to-last fence during a novice hurdle race and unseated him.
    • A chase involves larger, rigid fences while a hurdle race is run over shorter, more flexible obstacles.
    • On the second circuit, these two fences are bypassed and the last obstacle has no fence on it at all.
  • 2A guard or guide on a plane, saw, or other tool.
    More example sentences
    • This leaves a short side surface at right angles to the rear of the strip, adequate for guiding the fence of the cornice plane.
    • The fence of this plane is guided by the drawer side, and the depth stop sets the distance to be cut into the side of the drawer.
    • The fence of a plow plane must be held firmly at the chosen distance from its stock if the tool is to function properly.
  • 3 informal A person who deals in stolen goods.
    More example sentences
    • There he meets up with the wily Artful Dodger who takes him to thief and fence Fagin, who is in charge of a gang of young pickpockets.
    • For Polanski portrays the fence Fagin and his gang of children who steal silk handkerchiefs, pocket watches and wallets in a far more sympathetic light than the authorities.
    Synonyms
    receiver (of stolen goods), dealer

verb

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  • 1 [with object] Surround or protect with a fence: our garden was not fully fenced
    More example sentences
    • The entire area of the marsh has to be fenced to protect the remaining part from further encroachment, say nature lovers, who enjoy its vast expanse and birdlife.
    • The gardens which surround the property are fenced with mature spruce trees separating the garden from the road.
    • Sections of upper beach were fenced to protect nests, and regulations limiting some recreational activities were posted and enforced.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1 (fence something in/off) Enclose or separate with a fence for protection or to prevent escape: everything is fenced in to keep out the wolves
    More example sentences
    • Two specific areas of trees will be fenced off on the bank of the beck so the saplings will be safe from being eaten by deer or other animals.
    • It is not just the learning spaces that are separate; the children are fenced off from each other in the playing areas.
    • I have turned up before 5pm and been told the area was fenced off because of lack of staff.
    Synonyms
    confine, pen in, coop up, shut in/up, separate off; enclose, surround, corral
  • 1.2 (fence someone/something out) Use a barrier to exclude someone or something: Idaho law requires people to fence out cows
    More example sentences
    • On summer rangeland, you need to start accumulating growth no later than early July by fencing cows out of the planned winter pasture.
    • He decided to plant willows and fence the cows out.
    • Next, the area is sown with regnans and other native hardwood seeds, and any animals - wallabies, wombats, and possums - that might eat seedlings are fenced out, trapped, or shot.
  • 2 [with object] informal Deal in (stolen goods): after stealing your ring, he didn’t even know how to fence it
    More example sentences
    • However, unknown to her friends and neighbours, she was running a seaside syndicate of burglars who stole to order and used her shop to fence the goods.
    • You then made a business of fencing the goods you asked him to steal at your store for profit.
    • Policemen need to be out there checking on pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers, because they know who is fencing the goods.
  • 3 [no object] Fight with swords, especially as a sport. See also fencing.
    More example sentences
    • Next, Anders took a wooden sword and fenced with one of the dummies.
    • When one fences a lot and sweats abundantly, the mask can deteriorate quickly.
    • He jabbed the air a couple of times, as if he were fencing, before swinging his sword round his head like a slingshot.
    Synonyms
    sword-fight; duel
  • 3.1Conduct a discussion or argument in such a way as to avoid the direct mention of something: we were fencing, not talking about the subject we’d come to talk about

Phrases

mend (one's) fences

see mend.

side of the fence

Either of the opposing positions involved in a conflict: whatever side of the fence you are on, the issue is here to stay
More example sentences
  • Now, we're on the opposite side of the fence - we're selling the little house we've grown to love.
  • You were a media planner, and handled the media campaigns of other models, so what did you learn from the other side of the fence?
  • In 1994 they had been on the other side of the fence, yet, today they all sit next to each other peacefully in church.

sit on the fence

Avoid making a decision or choice.
More example sentences
  • But he's going to make change and he's going to bring a lot of confidence to a lot of people who are sitting on the fence with the same decision.
  • You should make a decision; you cannot sit on the fence.
  • If that brings to mind a lot of dithering and sitting on the fence, you couldn't be more wrong.
Synonyms
undecided, uncommitted, uncertain, unsure, vacillating, wavering, dithering, hesitant, doubtful, ambivalent, of two minds, in a quandary, hemming and hawing, wishy-washy; neutral, impartial, nonpartisan

Derivatives

fenceless

adjective
More example sentences
  • Apart from the gate leading to the four-car garage, the house has no other fence except for the around two-meter-high outer wall, topped by a fenceless garden that is accessible through a narrow flight of entrance stairs.
  • The close proximity of the buildings, with fenceless front lawns divided only by driveways, give it a suburban feel - particularly with gleaming cars parked in the en-suite garages.
  • His route comes within 50 feet of where I'm standing, just beyond the fenceless boundary at South Fork.

fencer

noun
More example sentences
  • "Our female fencers did so well and clinched all gold medals in the women's events," he said.
  • The Scottish team of 15 to 20 fencers will have to pay around £2000 each to represent their country.
  • Because of its lighter weight, the small sword made it possible for fencers to do more complex defensive movements.

Origin

Middle English (in the sense 'defending, defence'): shortening of defence. Compare with fend.

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