barbed wire


a wire or strand of wires having small pieces of sharply pointed wire twisted around it at short intervals, used chiefly for fencing in livestock, keeping out trespassers, etc.

Origin of barbed wire

First recorded in 1860–65
Also called barbwire. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for barbed wire

fence, fencing, barbwire

Examples from the Web for barbed wire

Contemporary Examples of barbed wire

  • Soon after, the body of a teenage Jewish girl is also found on the barbed-wire, similarly mutilated.

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Historical Examples of barbed wire

British Dictionary definitions for barbed wire

barbed wire


strong wire with sharply pointed barbs at close intervalsAlso called (US): barbwire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for barbed wire

also barb wire, "fencing wire with sharp edges or points," 1863, American English, from barb + wire (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper