• synonyms

barbed wire

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  1. 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.
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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

Related Words for barbed wire

fence, fencing, barbwire

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Historical Examples of barbed wire

British Dictionary definitions for barbed wire

barbed wire

  1. strong wire with sharply pointed barbs at close intervalsAlso called (US): barbwire
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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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper