Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A structure, such as a fence, built to bar passage.
  • n. Something immaterial that obstructs or impedes: Intolerance is a barrier to understanding. See Synonyms at obstacle.
  • n. Physiology A membrane, tissue, or mechanism that blocks the passage of certain substances.
  • n. Ecology A physical or biological factor that limits the migration, interbreeding, or free movement of individuals or populations.
  • n. A boundary or limit.
  • n. Something that separates or holds apart.
  • n. A movable gate that keeps racehorses in line before the start of a race.
  • n. The palisades or fences enclosing the lists of a medieval tournament. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Geology An ice barrier.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A structure that bars passage.
  • n. An obstacle or impediment.
  • n. A boundary or limit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A carpentry obstruction, stockade, or other obstacle made in a passage in order to stop an enemy.
  • n. A fortress or fortified town, on the frontier of a country, commanding an avenue of approach.
  • n. A fence or railing to mark the limits of a place, or to keep back a crowd.
  • n. Any obstruction; anything which hinders approach or attack.
  • n. Any limit or boundary; a line of separation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shut in or off with a barrier.
  • n. In fortification, anything, as a palisade or stockade, designed to obstruct entrance into a fortified place.
  • n. plural The palisades or railing surrounding the ground where tourneys and justs were carried on; hence, the sports themselves (formerly sometimes with the plural in a singular sense).
  • n. Any obstruction; anything which hinders approach, attack, or progress; anything standing in the way; an obstacle: as, to build a wall as a barrier against trespassers; constitutional barriers.
  • n. A fortress or fortified town on the frontier of a country.
  • n. A limit or boundary of any kind; a line of separation.
  • n. The gate, in towns on the continent of Europe, at which local revenue duties are collected.
  • n. In China, a subordinate customs station placed on an inland trade-route for the collection of duties on goods in transit.
  • n. In coal-mining, a solid block of coal left unworked between two collieries, for security against the accidents which might occur in consequence of communication between them.
  • n. The starting apparatus used in races: designed to keep the horses behind a certain line until the word is given, and thus prevent unfair advantage in starting.
  • n. In phytogeography, any obstacle which prevents or restricts the migration of plants.
  • n. See the qualifying words.
  • n. A treaty in 1748, terminating the War of the Austrian Succession.
  • n. in 1831, for the settlement of the Belgian question
  • n. in 1840, for the settlement of the relations between Turkey and Egypt
  • n. in 1871, abrogating the neutrality of the Black Sea.
  • n. A treaty between Prussia and Austria in 1866, by which the former power succeeded the latter in the hegemony of Germany.
  • n. that of 1809, between France and Austria, in favor of the former
  • n. that of 1815, by the congress of the European states, reorganizing the affairs of Europe
  • n. that of 1864, between Denmark and allied Austria and Prussia, ending the Schleswig-Holstein war
  • n. that of 1866, between Austria and Italy, by which Venetia was ceded to the latter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a structure or object that impedes free movement
  • n. any condition that makes it difficult to make progress or to achieve an objective
  • n. anything serving to maintain separation by obstructing vision or access

Etymologies

Middle English barrer, from Old French barriere, from Vulgar Latin *barrāria, from *barra, bar.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French barriere (cf. French barrière). (Wiktionary)

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