Definition of fence in English:


Line breaks: fence
Pronunciation: /fɛns


  • 1A barrier, railing, or other upright structure, typically of wood or wire, enclosing an area of ground to prevent or control access or 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.
    barrier, paling, railing, rail, bar, hurdle, enclosure; wall, hedge, hedgerow, windbreak, groyne, partition; barricade, stockade, palisade, rampart, protection, defence
    rare circumvallation
  • 1.1A large upright obstacle in steeplechasing, showjumping, or cross-country.
    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.
    receiver of stolen goods, dealer in stolen goods; receiver, dealer, trafficker
    informal pusher


[with object] Back to top  
  • 2 informal Buy or sell (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.
    receive stolen goods, deal in stolen goods


mend (one's) fences

see mend.

over the fence

Australian /NZ informal Unreasonable or unacceptable.

side of the fence

Used to refer to either of the opposing positions or interests involved in a particular situation: whatever side of the fence you are on, the debate on conventional versus organic farming is not going to disappear
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.
undecided, uncommitted, uncertain, unsure, vacillating, wavering, dithering, hesitant, tentative, doubtful, irresolute, ambivalent, torn, in two minds, in a dilemma, on the horns of a dilemma, in a quandary; abstaining; neutral, impartial, non-aligned, non-partisan, unbiased, open-minded; British humming and hawing
informal iffy, blowing hot and cold



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.


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.


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

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