Definition of obstacle in English:



  • A thing that blocks one's way or prevents or hinders progress.

    ‘the major obstacle to achieving that goal is money’
    • ‘He spoke on all the groundwork that goes into a project and the obstacles to overcome.’
    • ‘They are not likely to prevent a determined terrorist group finding ways around these obstacles.’
    • ‘It has been a silent process that has been quietly putting obstacles on the road to peace.’
    • ‘All you have to do is tell us how many obstacles the competitors will face in Saturday's Marathon event.’
    • ‘There are obstacles to clear, one is clearly transport, but that is achievable.’
    • ‘He added that it was the current transport ministers who were obstacles to further progress.’
    • ‘But even if we adopt your vision, there are some serious obstacles to making it a reality.’
    • ‘He said the religious site was just one of several obstacles blocking a peace deal.’
    • ‘Their biggest obstacle is the difficulty in finding enough local craftsmen to carry out the work.’
    • ‘The social and cultural obstacles to accelerated economic growth are immense.’
    • ‘None of the fences will have guard rails and the obstacles have been approved by the Jockey Club.’
    • ‘The device will help to overcome one of the most difficult obstacles in military operations.’
    • ‘The grass was really long and there were a few obstacles to clear as we went.’
    • ‘We should sustain this process and not give up if there are some obstacles en route.’
    • ‘The riders have to clear 12 obstacles on the course within a specific time limit.’
    • ‘Resistance is the process of avoiding change and is a major obstacle to progress.’
    • ‘He and his board have struggled valiantly to keep the club going, despite facing major obstacles.’
    • ‘Developers see the bill as an obstacle, as a compliance cost, and as a source of delay.’
    • ‘One obstacle to the dissemination of apparatus for clear, critical thinking is the media.’
    • ‘To look ahead is to identify a worrying number of obstacles between Scotland and the World Cup finals.’
    barrier, hurdle, stumbling block, bar, block, impediment, hindrance, snag, catch, drawback, hitch, handicap, deterrent, complication, difficulty, problem, disadvantage, baulk, curb, check, stop, interference
    obstruction, barricade, blockade
    fly in the ointment, hiccup, facer
    spanner in the works
    monkey wrench in the works
    View synonyms


Middle English: via Old French from Latin obstaculum, from obstare impede from ob- against + stare stand.