Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of fence
Meaning of fence by Wiktionary Dictionary


    A fence ( barrier )


    The original meaning is "the act of defending", from Middle French defens ( see defence ), adopted in the 14th century. The sense "enclosure" arises in the mid 15th century. Also from the 15th century is use as a verb in the sense "to enclose with a fence". The generalized sense "to defend, screen, protect" arises ca. 1500. The sense "to fight with swords ( rapiers )" is from the 1590s ( Shakespeare ) .


    • IPA: /fɛn( t )s/, X-SAMPA: /fEn( t )s/
    • Rhymes: -ɛns


    fence ( plural: fences )

    1. A thin, human-constructed barrier which separates two pieces of land or a house perimeter.
    2. A middleman for transactions of stolen goods .
    3. The place whence such a middleman operates .
    4. Skill in oral debate .
    5. The art or practice of fencing.
    6. A guard or guide on machinery .
    7. ( figuratively ) A barrier, for example an emotional barrier.


    Derived terms

    See also


    fence ( third-person singular simple present fences present participle fencing, simple past and past participle fenced )

    1. ( transitive ) To enclose, contain or separate by building fence.
    2. ( transitive ) To defend or guard .
    3. ( transitive ) To engage in the selling or buying of stolen goods .
    4. ( intransitive ) To engage in ( the sport ) fencing.
    5. ( intransitive ) ( equestrian ) To jump over a fence .


Explanation of fence by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. have an argument about something

    2. surround with a wall in order to fortify

    3. fight with fencing swords

    4. enclose with a fence

    5. we fenced in our yard
    6. receive stolen goods

    1. a barrier that serves to enclose an area

    2. a dealer in stolen property

    Definition of fence by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Fence ( fĕns ), n. [Abbrev. from defence.]
      1. That which fends off attack or danger; a defense; a protection; a cover; security; shield.

      Let us be backed with God and with the seas,

      Which he hath given for fence impregnable. Shak.

      A fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath. Addison.

      2. An inclosure about a field or other space, or about any object; especially, an inclosing structure of wood, iron, or other material, intended to prevent intrusion from without or straying from within.

      Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold. Milton.

      ☞ In England a hedge, ditch, or wall, as well as a structure of boards, palings, or rails, is called a fence.

      3. ( Locks ) A projection on the bolt, which passes through the tumbler gates in locking and unlocking.

      4. Self-defense by the use of the sword; the art and practice of fencing and sword play; hence, skill in debate and repartee. See Fencing.

      Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,

      That hath so well been taught her dazzing fence. Milton.

      Of dauntless courage and consummate skill in fence. Macaulay.

      5. A receiver of stolen goods, or a place where they are received. [Slang] Mayhew.

      Fence month ( Forest Law ), the month in which female deer are fawning, when hunting is prohibited. Bullokar. -- Fence roof, a covering for defense. “They fitted their shields close to one another in manner of a fence roof.” Holland. -- Fence time, the breeding time of fish or game, when they should not be killed. -- Rail fence, a fence made of rails, sometimes supported by posts. -- Ring fence, a fence which encircles a large area, or a whole estate, within one inclosure. -- Worm fence, a zigzag fence composed of rails crossing one another at their ends; -- called also snake fence, or Virginia rail fence. -- To be on the fence, to be undecided or uncommitted in respect to two opposing parties or policies. [Colloq.]

    2. Fence, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Fenced ( fĕnst ); p. pr. & vb. n. Fencing ( fĕnsĭng ).]
      1. To fend off danger from; to give security to; to protect; to guard.

      To fence my ear against thy sorceries. Milton.

      2. To inclose with a fence or other protection; to secure by an inclosure.

      O thou wall! . . . dive in the earth,

      And fence not Athens. Shak.

      A sheepcote fenced about with olive trees. Shak.

      To fence the tables ( Scot. Church ), to make a solemn address to those who present themselves to commune at the Lord's supper, on the feelings appropriate to the service, in order to hinder, so far as possible, those who are unworthy from approaching the table. McCheyne.

    3. Fence v. i.
      1. To make a defense; to guard one's self of anything, as against an attack; to give protection or security, as by a fence.

      Vice is the more stubborn as well as the more dangerous evil, and therefore, in the first place, to be fenced against. Locke.

      2. To practice the art of attack and defense with the sword or with the foil, esp. with the smallsword, using the point only.

      He will fence with his own shadow. Shak.

      3. Hence, to fight or dispute in the manner of fencers, that is, by thrusting, guarding, parrying, etc.

      They fence and push, and, pushing, loudly roar;

      Their dewlaps and their sides are bated in gore. Dryden.

      As when a billow, blown against,

      Falls back, the voice with which I fenced

      A little ceased, but recommenced. Tennyson.