fence

[ fens ]
/ fɛns /
|

noun

verb (used with object), fenced, fenc·ing.

verb (used without object), fenced, fenc·ing.

Idioms

    mend one's fences, to strengthen or reestablish one's position by conciliation or negotiation: One could tell by his superficially deferential manner that he was trying to mend his fences.
    on the fence, uncommitted; neutral; undecided: The party leaders are still on the fence.

Origin of fence

1300–50; Middle English fens, aphetic for defens defense
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for mend one's fences

fence

/ (fɛns) /

noun

verb

Derived Formsfenceless, adjectivefencelike, adjective

Word Origin for fence

C14 fens, shortened from defens defence
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

Idioms and Phrases with mend one's fences (1 of 2)

mend one's fences


Improve poor relations; placate personal, political, or business contacts. For example, The senator always goes home weekends and spends time mending his fences. This metaphoric expression dates from an 1879 speech by Senator John Sherman in Mansfield, Ohio, to which he said he had returned “to look after my fences.” Although he may have meant literally to repair the fences around his farm there, media accounts of the speech took him to mean campaigning among his constituents. In succeeding decades the term was applied to nonpolitical affairs as well.

Idioms and Phrases with mend one's fences (2 of 2)

fence


In addition to the idioms beginning with fence

  • fence in
  • fence with

also see:

  • 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.