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Barbed wire

a wire or strand of wires having small pieces of sharply pointed wire twisted around it at short intervals, used chiefly for fencing in livestock, keeping out trespassers, etc.
Contemporary Examples

This infrastructure will include a ten-foot-high, gray concrete wall, topped with barbed wire, which will ring the dormitories.
This Cairo College Campus Is Now a ‘Warzone’ Jonathan Krohn February 17, 2014

People left, and when they came back, the projects they were living in were boarded up, fenced in with barbed wire.
Spike Lee Returns to New Orleans on HBO Daily Beast Promotions August 18, 2010

Security at the compound was “extraordinary,” an official said, with 12- to 18-foot walls topped by barbed wire.
Obama Confirms Osama bin Laden’s Death Howard Kurtz May 1, 2011

Two parallel fences tipped with barbed wire formed a narrow corridor into the gymnasium.
The GOP’s Last Identity Crisis Remade U.S. Politics Michael Wolraich July 23, 2014

These days, the vast majority of coalition forces work within the walls, guard towers, and barbed wire of their bases.
How I’ll End the War: Making Collage Art With Afghan Students Nick Willard May 28, 2014

Historical Examples

There was plenty of barbed wire everywhere and by means of the wire cutters rude grates were made on which the tin cup was placed.
Springfield in the Spanish American War Walter W. Ward

Why should you put up all this barbed wire between yourself and your friends?
The Market-Place Harold Frederic

At the time we tried out our rifles we put up our barbed wire railings.
The Cruise of the Snark Jack London

Lines of trenches and coils of barbed wire arrest your attention.
War Letters of a Public-School Boy Paul Jones.

barbed wire fencing is now manufactured in various patterns.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 3 Various

strong wire with sharply pointed barbs at close intervals Also called (US) barbwire

also barb wire, “fencing wire with sharp edges or points,” 1863, American English, from barb + wire (n.).


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