fence

fence
{{11}}fence (n.) early 14c., "action of defending," shortening of defens (see DEFENSE (Cf. defense)). Spelling alternated between -c- and -s- in Middle English. Sense of "enclosure" is first recorded mid-15c. on notion of "that which serves as a defense." Sense of "dealer in stolen goods" is thieves' slang, first attested c.1700, from notion of such transactions taking place under defense of secrecy. To be figuratively on the fence "uncommitted" is from 1828, from the notion of spectators at a fight.
{{12}}fence (v.) mid-15c., "surround with a fence;" c.1500, "defend, screen, protect;" 1590s, "fight with swords;" the last from the noun in this sense (1530s); see FENCE (Cf. fence) (n.). Related: Fenced, FENCING (Cf. fencing).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Fence — (f[e^]ns), n. [Abbrev. from defence.] 1. That which fends off attack or danger; a defense; a protection; a cover; security; shield. [1913 Webster] Let us be backed with God and with the seas, Which he hath given for fence impregnable. Shak. [1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fence — 1 n 1: a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary 2 a: a receiver of stolen goods b: a place where stolen goods are bought fence 2 vt fenced, fenc·ing 1 a: to enclose with a fence …   Law dictionary

  • Fence — Fence, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Fenced} (f[e^]nst); p. pr. & vb. n. {Fencing} (f[e^]n s[i^]ng).] 1. To fend off danger from; to give security to; to protect; to guard. [1913 Webster] To fence my ear against thy sorceries. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. To …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fence — 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. [1913 Webster] Vice is the more stubborn as well as the more dangerous evil, and therefore, in the first… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fence — fence; fence·less; fence·row; fence·less·ness; of·fence; …   English syllables

  • fence — [fens] n. [ME fens, aphetic for defens, DEFENSE] 1. Obs. a protection; defense 2. a barrier, as of wooden or metal posts, rails, wire mesh, etc., used as a boundary or means of protection or confinement 3. the art of self defense with foil, saber …   English World dictionary

  • fence — ► NOUN 1) a barrier enclosing an area, typically consisting of posts connected by wire, wood, etc. 2) a large upright obstacle in steeplechasing, showjumping, or cross country. 3) informal a dealer in stolen goods. 4) a guard or guide on a plane… …   English terms dictionary

  • fence — [n] barrier used to enclose a piece of land backstop, balustrade, bar, barbed wire, barricade, block, boards, chains, Cyclone, defense, dike, guard, hedge, net, paling, palisade, pickets, posts, rail, railing, rampart, roadblock, shield, stakes,… …   New thesaurus

  • fence — ● fence nom masculin (anglais fence) Obstacle de steeple chase constitué par une barrière de planches …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • fence — [fens] verb [intransitive] informal LAW to buy and sell stolen goods: • The police suspect he has been fencing electronic equipment …   Financial and business terms

  • fence in — index circumscribe (surround by boundary), confine, contain (enclose), enclose, encompass (surround), envelop …   Law dictionary

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