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anything built or serving to bar passage, as a railing, fence, or the like:
People may pass through the barrier only when their train is announced.
any natural bar or obstacle:
a mountain barrier.
anything that restrains or obstructs progress, access, etc.:
a trade barrier.
a limit or boundary of any kind:
the barriers of caste.
Physical Geography. an antarctic ice shelf or ice front.
barrier beach.
barriers, History/Historical. the palisade or railing surrounding the ground where tourneys and jousts were carried on.
Archaic. a fortress or stockade.
Contemporary Examples

A mandatory evacuation order is in effect for the New Jersey barrier islands, including casino haven Atlantic City.
Here Comes Hurricane Sandy: East Coast Scrambles Eliza Shapiro October 27, 2012

On the barrier islands, which were devastated by Sandy, they are bringing in an average of 60 displaced animals every day.
How Pets Survived Hurricane Sandy Jesse Ellison November 6, 2012

The barrier of stigma wedged between a person and others they deem “dirty” or “derelict” will not keep AIDS at bay.
Should People Who Spread HIV Go to Jail? Regan Hofmann May 6, 2009

The innocence of that child and how it can break down any barrier.
The ‘Maleficent’ Screenwriter Also Wrote ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Kevin Fallon May 31, 2014

All the way back in 1999, a young, higher-pitched Obama called teacher unions “a barrier to change.”
Obama’s Shift Toward Communitarianism Gregory Ferenstein June 29, 2013

Historical Examples

He was searching always for some feasible crossing, for his instinct led him always to get over any barrier.
The Secret Trails Charles G. D. Roberts

In the midst of the barrier stood an altar, on the top of which was a brazen eagle.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

I recalled the perplexing fact that as we had driven into the town past the barrier, there had been no one on guard.
Captain Macedoine’s Daughter William McFee

It is pride that sets a barrier between you and your companions.
The Boy Life of Napoleon Eugenie Foa

So secured, it would be a barrier in the universal war of religion which he foresaw was soon to break out.
The Life of John of Barneveld, 1609-15, Volume I. John Lothrop Motley

anything serving to obstruct passage or to maintain separation, such as a fence or gate
anything that prevents or obstructs passage, access, or progress: a barrier of distrust
anything that separates or hinders union: a language barrier

an exposed offshore sand bar separated from the shore by a lagoon
(as modifier): a barrier beach

(sometimes capital) that part of the Antarctic icecap extending over the sea

early 14c., barere, from Anglo-French barrere, Old French barriere “obstacle, gatekeeper,” from barre “bar” (see bar (n.1)). First record of barrier reef is from 1805.

barrier bar·ri·er (bār’ē-ər)

A structure, such as a fence, built to bar passage.

A boundary or limit.

An obstacle or impediment.

Something that separates or holds apart.

Something immaterial that obstructs or impedes behavior.

A physical or biological factor that limits the migration, interbreeding, or free movement of individuals or populations.


Read Also:

  • Barrier beach

    a sand ridge that rises slightly above the surface of the sea and runs roughly parallel to the shore, from which it is separated by a lagoon. Historical Examples Eastward the barrier beach was looming stark and black against a growing greenish pallor in the sky. The Destroying Angel Louis Joseph Vance At the time […]

  • Barrier cream

    noun a cream used to protect the skin, esp the hands, from dirt and from the action of oils or solvents

  • Barrier island

    a broadened barrier beach, habitable in places, that provides a measure of protection for the mainland, as during hurricanes and tidal waves. Historical Examples This species has not been reported previously from the barrier island of Tamaulipas. Vertebrates from the Barrier Island of Tamaulipas, Mxico Robert K Selander This subspecies is presumably confined in distribution […]

  • Barrier method

    noun a mode of contraception using a device or preparation that prevents live sperm from reaching the ovum

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