- 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for barbed wire
Soon after, the body of a teenage Jewish girl is also found on the barbed-wire, similarly mutilated.Must Read Novels
Lucy Scholes, John Wilwol, Randy Rosenthal, Nina MacLaughlin
August 4, 2011
He's going to teach people to take off their hats to barbed-wire fences.The Duke Of Chimney Butte
G. W. Ogden
Tommy (who is learning every minute about barbed-wire defences).
There was a barbed-wire fence intervening, and it pleased him to take it "on the fly."Peak and Prairie
"This is the first barbed-wire entanglement," said Archer, as they approached.Tom Slade with the Colors
Percy K. Fitzhugh
I went down to the barbed-wire entanglements and examined them curiously.They Shall Not Pass
Frank H. Simonds
- 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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper