Definition of barrier in US English:

barrier

noun

  • 1A fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access.

    • ‘The only barrier is to the movement of cars onto the streetcar tracks.’
    • ‘However, he told council he would like to protect the fence with barriers, to prevent vehicle operators from accidentally running into the fence.’
    • ‘The security perimeter around the missions of the UK, the US and Turkey was widened and new fences and barriers were installed.’
    • ‘The mountains provided a natural barrier to allow the settlers to build their own eco-system.’
    • ‘Summit delegates will hold their air conditioned talks there behind police lines, wire fences, concrete barriers and the sound of percussion grenades fired at protesters.’
    • ‘They were in talks with the council to replace a wooden fence with a barrier but were told last week it would never happen.’
    • ‘The Oceanlab team discovered that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a barrier to the movement of deep-sea fish between the east and west Atlantic Ocean.’
    • ‘The buried debris then acts as a physical barrier to the movement of water upward and downward.’
    • ‘They weren't there to keep me away from, Heaven forbid, a Democrat or a protester; those folks were kept safely behind rings of fences and concrete barriers.’
    • ‘As security fences and barriers went up, manholes were welded shut and hotels and offices swept by teams of officials.’
    • ‘A bulldozer blade would be similarly effective today, for use in clearing rabble and barriers during urban movement.’
    • ‘The only real injury that I suffered was when I wrenched my knee jumping down from the barrier fence getting out of the ring.’
    • ‘Roads passing the hotel will be blocked, local people issued with photographic identity cards and a five-mile steel fence with a second barrier inside the grounds will cordon off the hotel itself.’
    • ‘A uniformed cop stands next to the boy and both are enclosed in a space fenced off with four-foot-high barriers.’
    • ‘In the western world, the sea has come to be regarded as a barrier, restricting our movements.’
    • ‘As helicopters buzzed overhead, army engineers erected concrete barriers and razor wire fences in the fields off Drumcree Road.’
    • ‘Over the past year their government has set about establishing that separation unilaterally by the construction of a serpentine course of fences, barriers, walls.’
    • ‘The tahsildar had to intervene and put up a barrier blocking the movement of people and vehicles.’
    • ‘Special thanks also to Noel Kenny and Cecil Carter for the sound system, Andrew Broderick for organising the power and to Rent a Fence for providing the barriers.’
    • ‘It's one thing to put up a security fence, a barrier that is clearly on your property, the dividing line, so to speak, in order to protect yourself.’
    fence, railing, barricade, hurdle, bar, blockade, roadblock
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The starting gate of a racecourse.
      • ‘The picador is seen drawn up at a short distance from the barrier.’
      • ‘Starting out of barrier two He's Tough Enough led from start to finish and went to the line a length in front of the well supported Al Tayar at 7 / 4.’
      • ‘Starting wide from barrier 10 Gladwin wasted no time in challenging by charging to the lead beside Compass Boy.’
    2. 1.2British A gate at a parking lot that controls access by being raised or lowered.
      • ‘Nurses at Wallsend Aged Care Facility have voted to take industrial action if work commences to build barriers or gates to car parking areas.’
      • ‘You see, they've installed these ticket barriers at Oxford station and today was supposed to be the day upon which these came into use.’
      • ‘The boss of a supermarket is to put barriers across its car park to keep out car cruisers who use it as a meeting place.’
      • ‘I had been to the supermarket, which has a car-park incorporating barriers and tickets.’
      • ‘They were finally shifted after the council dug trenches and police escorted the caravans and vehicles off the car park, installing barriers in their wake.’
      • ‘Automatic barriers at the village railway station were controlled by rail staff during the emergency.’
      • ‘Road-users were alarmed when the Drypool Bridge started to open without the usual warning signals or barriers being lowered’
      • ‘He leapt over station barriers and jumped on the tube.’
      • ‘Instead he panicked, jumping over the station's ticket barriers and running down to a train where he was shot.’
      • ‘Many train stations now have automatic barriers that only allow ticket holders onto the platform.’
      • ‘The police also raised the barriers at the Riom tollgate in anticipation of the satanic Vel Satis making a break for freedom.’
      • ‘The extra parking revenue will help pay for a new pay station system instead of putting coins in the barrier to leave the car park.’
      • ‘Ticket barriers at stations slow down passenger flow, but the determined non-payer can still vault over them, or sneak through behind a legitimate ticketholder.’
      • ‘An investigation has been launched after a minibus full of passengers went through the barriers at Manningtree railway station - just seconds before a train was due to arrive.’
      • ‘Think Pret a Manger; think bendy buses; think automatic ticket barriers at Charing Cross station.’
      • ‘Last February's disaster exposed the inadequacy of barriers dividing road and railway.’
      • ‘The train is late and there begins a tiny shuffling, like a re-focusing of the group, as we all look up the tracks where the barriers are still raised and the individual traffic is crossing.’
      • ‘Traffic was controlled and barriers put up by the council to keep pedestrians safe and form a protected walkway on the road.’
      • ‘She also says that barrier controlled car parks have to be manned at all times so staff can let disabled people out.’
      • ‘At other times, the barriers will control access and there will be a Euro2-exit charge.’
      wicket, wicket gate, lychgate, five-barred gate, turnstile
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A circumstance or obstacle that keeps people or things apart or prevents communication or progress.
      ‘a language barrier’
      ‘the cultural barriers to economic growth’
      • ‘The Europeans in this regards are the worst culprits, with more and more useless regulation being used as barriers to free trade.’
      • ‘For decades, the women's movement has challenged the barriers created in part by the dichotomies of female vs. male.’
      • ‘Through lobbying government, educational workshops, videos and programs, they are working together to remove barriers to women in trades.’
      • ‘What are the barriers to effective communication?’
      • ‘A helpful part of this section is an explicit description outlining how the program overcame obstacles and barriers to implementation.’
      • ‘They are warm, but the language barrier keeps us apart.’
      • ‘But the 1970s also witnessed attempts to break down the racial barriers to economic opportunity and home ownership.’
      • ‘How far and how quickly to tear down barriers to world farm trade was a key topic of the discussions, which showed countries were still widely split on the issue.’
      • ‘With visionaries like this leading the charge, it's hard to conceive of any barriers a hip-hop movement can't break.’
      • ‘Thai TV, apart from the language barrier, has limited international appeal for these kinds of shows.’
      • ‘Ironically, those people who make the greatest demands on the healthcare system are those facing the greatest barriers to using online communication tools.’
      • ‘The Department of Social Development is mandated with break down barriers to equality of opportunity for Canadians.’
      • ‘But the remaining barriers to completely liberalized trade lend themselves to be very focused defensive positions.’
      • ‘Patients with communication barriers (eg, language, hearing, speech) should be provided with an interpreter.’
      • ‘The large food retailers are going global, and as barriers to trade come down, the economics ate determining where the investment and trade take place.’
      • ‘Sometimes even the language barrier cannot keep hypocrites apart.’
      • ‘The language barrier prevented direct access to the sources of supply of Chinese goods and to their final customers.’
      • ‘It would also be informative to track all hospital deaths and discover the obstacles and barriers to obtaining an autopsy.’
      • ‘As for the other subject, elimination of trade barriers to environmental goods and services will facilitate both the expansion of trade and protection of the environment.’
      • ‘Though volunteers expected all kinds of difficulties the language barrier broke all of Shen's expectations, despite having a good command of English.’
      obstacle, obstruction, hurdle, stumbling block, bar, block, impediment, hindrance
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A long narrow island lying parallel and close to the mainland, protecting the mainland from erosion and storms.
      • ‘This is how the barrier island main street near the zoo looked as the storm rolled in.’
      • ‘A lot of them saying they felt they were somewhat protected because there are barrier islands between them and the Gulf.’
      • ‘When the eye gets up to the coastline and the winds come from the south, that's when that storm surge is really going to push over the barrier islands and up into the bay.’
      • ‘There are a lot of areas that present real challenges for us, because we not only have people living in the mainland but in barrier islands around our city.’
      • ‘Bar-built Estuaries form when a shallow lagoon or bay is protected from the ocean by a sand bar or barrier island.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, the barrier islands protecting this region have deteriorated to an alarming extent and are in need of restoration.’
      • ‘But even out here on the barrier islands we'll have at least 10 feet of storm surge.’
      • ‘Roofs were torn off, stop lights dangled precariously and bridges from the mainland to barrier islands were flooded.’
      • ‘Morton said the assessment shows that coastal Louisiana is most vulnerable to shoreline erosion along with barriers islands in Texas.’
      • ‘It is a very fragile piece of barrier island, very close to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.’
      • ‘One, the people here in Galveston, this narrow strip of barrier island, are taking the evacuation notice very seriously.’
      • ‘The outer-bounding coastline is generally a narrow strip of land or a chain of barrier islands.’
      • ‘This is, after all, a barrier island so it can be very vulnerable to storms.’
      • ‘New Orleans allowed development for decades that actually weakened the barrier islands, encouraged erosion.’
      • ‘In these areas, common cider pairs, flocks, and broods were concentrated close to barrier islands.’
      • ‘Bob Franken reports on the damage on Sanibel, one of the barrier islands to first feel the brunt of that storm.’
      • ‘It peeled the roofs off buildings, toppled light poles, and flooded some bridges from the mainland to the Atlantic coast's barrier islands.’

Phrases

  • break the barrier

    • Pass or exceed a significant level or amount.

      ‘the Tokyo stock exchange reopened to break the 5000-yen barrier’
      • ‘However, a young Oxford medical student, Roger Bannister, was not deterred from his goal to be the first to break the barrier.’
      • ‘Patrick talks about the weather, anything to break the barrier that blocks affection.’
      • ‘Takahashi became the first woman to break the barrier of two hours and 20 minutes in the Berlin marathon, shattering the existing world best by nearly a minute with a time of 2: 19.46.’
      • ‘Even lighter skinned Black people were advantaged over the darker skinned Black persons, but could not break the barrier into the arena of full inclusion based upon merit.’
      • ‘Unable to break the barrier and make the majors, Savage switched gears and decided to give the family business a try.’
      • ‘These are tears that break the barrier of the limitations of my own ego and the smallness of my life.’
      • ‘The point is whether we can break the barrier after the great attempt,’ he says.’
      • ‘‘It is relatively easy to run inside 14 seconds, but very difficult to break the barrier of 13 seconds,’ he said.’
      • ‘More players like that showing up on NBA teams gave young international players more confidence they could break the barrier.’
      • ‘The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 17 weeks and is set to break the barrier of a million hardback copies sold.’

Origin

Late Middle English (denoting a palisade or fortification defending an entrance): from Old French barriere, of unknown origin; related to barre.

Pronunciation

barrier

/ˈbɛriər//ˈberēər/