from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The art or sport of using a foil, épée, or saber in attack and defense.
  • noun Skillful repartee, especially as a defense against having to give direct answers.
  • noun Material, such as wire, stakes, and rails, used in building fences.
  • noun A barrier or enclosure of fences.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The art of using a sword or foil in attack and defense, or practice for improvement or the exhibition of skill in that art.
  • noun That which fences; an inclosure or fence; the fences collectively.
  • noun Specifically, a protection put round a dangerous piece of machinery; brattishing.
  • noun Material used in making fences.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The art or practice of attack and defense with the sword, esp. with the smallsword. See fence, v. i., 2.
  • noun Disputing or debating in a manner resembling the art of fencers.
  • noun U.S. The materials used for building fences.
  • noun The act of building a fence.
  • noun The aggregate of the fences put up for inclosure or protection.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Present participle of fence.
  • noun The art or sport of duelling with swords, especially with the 17th to 18th century European dueling swords and the practice weapons decended from them (sport fencing)
  • noun Material used to make fences, fences used as barriers or an enclosure.

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

  • noun material for building fences
  • noun a barrier that serves to enclose an area
  • noun the art or sport of fighting with swords (especially the use of foils or epees or sabres to score points under a set of rules)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • II. i.25 (197,8) drinking, fencing, swearing] I suppose, by _fencing_ is meant a too diligent frequentation of the fencing-school, a resort of violent and lawless young men.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies Samuel Johnson 1746

  • Taormina fell behind with a rough start in fencing, which is new to her, but made up the gap quickly in the swim and overhauled the leaders in the run to finish with 5,704 points in her debut. - Athlete of the Week breezes through Windy City 2005

  • The technical term for this kind of fencing is Krieg - WAR.

    Duck! It's a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator! zornhau 2005

  • Also: les gants fourrés = fur-lined gloves un gâteau fourré à la crême = a cream-filled cake un coup fourré = an exchanged hit, double hit (in fencing)

    Mode 2010

  • The third mission, I believe he replaces some well trained guy on a planet where fencing is common.

    Can You Name This Story? (Part 10) 2008

  • The third mission, I believe he replaces some well trained guy on a planet where fencing is common.

    August 2008 2008

  • BEIJING -- The women's sabre in fencing likely is one of the three best chances for the USA to sweep an Olympic event, along with the men's shot put and men's BMX cycling.

    Ward ready to slash her path to the Olympic podium 2008

  • Get use to it, high fencing is coming at an alarming rate.

    A Look Over the Fence 2008

  • Gaps in fencing surrounding Harborough's new £300,000 play area at Welland Park could encourage foxes to use the area as a toilet, councillors have warned.

    Archive 2008-09-01 2008

  • Gaps in fencing surrounding Harborough's new £300,000 play area at Welland Park could encourage foxes to use the area as a toilet, councillors have warned.

    Is fox mess the new dog mess? 2008


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  • The frindley took up fencing when she was, well, too old. (All the best fencers begin at the age of six or so, like ballet I guess.)

    And why? Mainly because she was suffering, in the professional environment, from a particularly obnoxious and petty boss. And so it seemed like the right time to pursue a long-held dream while enjoying general catharsis. She was also somewhat inspired by the Australian conductor, Simone Young, also a fencer, who once talked about how conducting and fencing both involve waving a stick, but with conducting you are trying to communicate intent, whereas with fencing you are trying to conceal intent. Very interesting thought. She had probably seen The Fencing Master on television as well, and had spent her childhood reading books like the Scarlet Pimpernel and other period romances. Oh, and the oft-quoted analogy of fencing being like chess speeded up probably had an influence too.

    A postscript. Given her story, the frindley was especially amused by this site, which offers "fencing" as a corporate team-building exercise. (A "modern, collaborative experience" is their way of describing it.) Sounds dodgy to me.

    August 28, 2008

  • The frindley, if she is still interested in watching awesome realistic swordplay, should try to get the frindley's hands on a film called "The Duellists," with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine. My fencing/stage combat instructors made us watch it repeatedly, and now with DVD remotes you can slow down the action and see what they do.

    Also, did you see the Olympic fencing last week? Thrilling bouts. A fencing coach/friend of ours is fond of telling people that the second-fastest object in the Olympics is the tip of a fencer's foil. The only thing faster is, of course, a bullet.

    August 28, 2008

  • I'll check it out. Alas, I don't have a television and the Olympic coverage here was not conducive to the gatecrashing of friends' homes for the purpose of watching an arcane sport. Sigh.

    I will investigate The Duellists.

    August 28, 2008

  • You could stream the Olympics live; I haven't visited the site again to see if they've archived any of the fencing bouts, but there's a good chance.

    August 28, 2008

  • I want this to be what fence-sitters do.

    February 12, 2009