a barrier enclosing or bordering a field, yard, etc., usually made of vertical posts connected with horizontal sections of sturdy material or materials, as wood, metal, vinyl, or wire, used to prevent entrance, to confine, or to mark a boundary: Our garden fence is not high enough to keep the deer out.
Informal. a person who receives and disposes of stolen goods.
the place of business of such a person.
the act, practice, art, or sport of fencing.
skill in argument, repartee, etc.
Machinery. a guard or guide, as for regulating the movements of a tool or work.
Carpentry. a slotted guide used especially with a framing square to lay out cuts on rafters and staircase strings.
Archaic. a means of defense; a bulwark.
to enclose by some barrier, establishing exclusive right to possession: to fence a farm.
to separate by or as by a fence or fences (often followed by in, off, out, etc.): to fence off a corner of one's yard; to fence out unwholesome influences.
to defend; protect; guard: The president was fenced by bodyguards wherever he went.
to ward off; keep out.
Informal. to sell (stolen goods) to a fence.
Nautical. to reinforce (an opening in a sail or the like) by sewing on a grommet or other device.
to practice the art or sport of fencing.
to parry arguments; strive to avoid giving direct answers; hedge: The mayor fenced when asked if he would run again.
(of a horse) to leap over a fence.
Obsolete. to raise a defense.
Idioms about fence
- fence·like, adjective
- out·fence, verb (used with object), out·fenced, out·fenc·ing.
- re·fence, verb (used with object), re·fenced, re·fenc·ing.
- un·fence, verb (used with object), un·fenced, un·fenc·ing.
- well-fenced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fence in a sentence
I am on the fence about an outdoors Thanksgiving involving 20 people the northeast.
That fence looks similar enough to the shimmering green curtains seen in the aurora borealis that scientists thought at least this part of STEVE could be a type of aurora.STEVE may be even less like typical auroras than scientists thought | Maria Temming | November 12, 2020 | Science News
Pick up the phone, send a text — or forward this email if you think it could help convince someone who is on the fence about voting.
That includes symptom-based surveillance before travelers board flights and digital fence tracking via cellular signals to ensure their compliance with a 14-day quarantine, he said.How Taiwan’s COVID response became the world’s envy | Claire Zillman, reporter | October 31, 2020 | Fortune
Instead, when we got to the parking lot, he found a place to cross through the fence and, placing his backpack beneath him on the grass, looked up at the stars, silent.
Rows of MRAPs that recall Star Wars vehicles await their fate in fenced yards across the base.How I’ll End the War: My First Week Back in Afghanistan | Nick Willard | May 1, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Jackie, photographed in her home's fenced in yard lives in Louisville, Kentucky but frequently visits New Orleans.Christian Hendricks Goes South To Capture Queer Culture | Justin Jones | September 30, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
So why do they still insist on this enormous, ‘ring-fenced’ aid budget?
Areas that have been fenced to keep out the goats, says Kröpelin, have seen vegetation rebound, and are greener than ever before.
The acreage at Area 13 was fenced off with simple barbed wire.
Chapman turned up a hilly road and they came out on a ridge overlooking the fenced-in track.The Campfire Girls of Roselawn | Margaret Penrose
A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high bulwarks.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
He had thought that he was being educated, when in reality he was being held back and fenced off from truth.Love's Pilgrimage | Upton Sinclair
At twelve years of age this young marvel danced enchantingly, rode like a riding-master, and fenced to perfection.Laboulaye's Fairy Book | Various
There are great palm trees springing out of the platform itself, not fenced in in any way.Round the Wonderful World | G. E. Mitton
British Dictionary definitions for fence
a structure that serves to enclose an area such as a garden or field, usually made of posts of timber, concrete, or metal connected by wire, netting, rails, or boards
slang a dealer in stolen property
an obstacle for a horse to jump in steeplechasing or showjumping
machinery a guard or guide, esp in a circular saw or plane
a projection usually fitted to the top surface of a sweptback aircraft wing to prevent movement of the airflow towards the wing tips
mend one's fences
mainly US and Canadian to restore a position or reputation that has been damaged, esp in politics
to re-establish friendly relations (with someone)
on the fence unable or unwilling to commit oneself
over the fence Australian and NZ informal unreasonable, unfair, or unjust
sit on the fence to be unable or unwilling to commit oneself
(tr) to construct a fence on or around (a piece of land, etc)
(tr; foll by in or off) to close (in) or separate (off) with or as if with a fence: he fenced in the livestock
(intr) to fight using swords or foils
(intr) to evade a question or argument, esp by quibbling over minor points
(intr) to engage in skilful or witty debate, repartee, etc
(intr) slang to receive stolen property
(tr) archaic to ward off or keep out
- fenceless, adjective
- fencelike, adjective
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with fence
In addition to the idioms beginning with fence
- fence in
- fence with
- mend one's fences
- on the fence
- straddle the fence
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.