barrier

Barriers are walls, either physical or metaphorical. They can block movement — the Great Wall of China was a barrier to block invading forces from entering. A window shade is a light barrier. Failing English is a barrier to getting into Harvard.

When people are being excluded from joining a clique, you could say that the clique has erected a social barrier. When fighter jets fly faster than the speed of sound, they break through what feels like a wall in the sky called the sound barrier. The Green Monster at Fenway Park keeps Boston Red Sox fans from being able to watch games from outside the stadium — it's a barrier to sight. But when line drives hit the Green Monster, bouncing the ball back into left field, the Green Monster acts also a barrier to easy home runs.

Definitions of barrier
  1. noun
    a structure or object that impedes free movement
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    types:
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    balusters, balustrade, banister, bannister, handrail
    a railing at the side of a staircase or balcony to prevent people from falling
    barricade
    a barrier (usually thrown up hastily) to impede the advance of an enemy
    breakwater, bulwark, groin, groyne, jetty, mole, seawall
    a protective structure of stone or concrete; extends from shore into the water to prevent a beach from washing away
    bulwark
    a fencelike structure around a ship's deck (usually plural)
    crash barrier
    a strong protective barrier that is erected around a racetrack or in the middle of a dual-lane highway in order to reduce the likelihood of severe accidents
    dam, dike, dyke
    a barrier constructed to contain the flow of water or to keep out the sea
    fence, fencing
    a barrier that serves to enclose an area
    fender, wing
    a barrier that surrounds the wheels of a vehicle to block splashing water or mud
    grate, grating
    a barrier that has parallel or crossed bars blocking a passage but admitting air
    hurdle
    a light movable barrier that competitors must leap over in certain races
    movable barrier
    a barrier that can be moved to allow passage
    rail, railing
    a barrier consisting of a horizontal bar and supports
    revetment
    a barrier against explosives
    barricade, roadblock
    a barrier set up by police to stop traffic on a street or road in order to catch a fugitive or inspect traffic etc.
    starting gate, starting stall
    a movable barrier on the starting line of a race course
    backstop
    (baseball) a fence or screen (as behind home plate) to prevent the ball from traveling out of the playing field
    bar
    (law) a railing that encloses the part of the courtroom where the judges and lawyers sit and the case is tried
    chainlink fence
    a fence of steel wires woven into a diamond pattern
    chicane
    a movable barrier used in motor racing; sometimes placed before a dangerous corner to reduce speed as cars pass in single file
    door
    a swinging or sliding barrier that will close the entrance to a room or building or vehicle
    fife rail
    the railing surrounding the mast of a sailing vessel
    gate
    a movable barrier in a fence or wall
    grille, radiator grille
    grating that admits cooling air to car's radiator
    hatch
    a movable barrier covering a hatchway
    hedge, hedgerow
    a fence formed by a row of closely planted shrubs or bushes
    milldam
    dam to make a millpond to provide power for a water mill
    mudguard, splash guard, splash-guard
    a curved piece above the wheel of a bicycle or motorcycle to protect the rider from water or mud thrown up by the wheels
    paling, picket fence
    a fence made of upright pickets
    rail fence
    a fence (usually made of split logs laid across each other at an angle)
    guardrail, safety rail
    a railing placed alongside a stairway or road for safety
    stone wall
    a fence built of rough stones; used to separate fields
    taffrail
    the railing around the stern of a ship
    wall
    a masonry fence (as around an estate or garden)
    weir
    a low dam built across a stream to raise its level or divert its flow
    weir
    a fence or wattle built across a stream to catch or retain fish
    type of:
    impediment, impedimenta, obstructer, obstruction, obstructor
    any structure that makes progress difficult
  2. noun
    anything serving to maintain separation by obstructing vision or access
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    bar
    a submerged (or partly submerged) ridge in a river or along a shore
    blood-brain barrier
    a mechanism that creates a barrier between brain tissues and circulating blood; serves to protect the central nervous system
    curtain
    any barrier to communication or vision
    sand bar, sandbar
    a bar of sand
    type of:
    mechanism
    a natural object resembling a machine in structure or function
  3. noun
    any condition that makes it difficult to make progress or to achieve an objective
    “intolerance is a barrier to understanding”
    synonyms: roadblock
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    ideological barrier
    a barrier to cooperation or interaction resulting from conflicting ideologies
    language barrier
    barrier to communication resulting from speaking different languages
    iron curtain
    any impenetrable barrier preventing the exchange of information or ideas
    iron curtain
    an impenetrable barrier to communication or information especially as imposed by rigid censorship and secrecy; used by Winston Churchill in 1946 to describe the demarcation between democratic and communist countries
    bamboo curtain
    an ideological barrier around communist China especially in the 1950s and 1960s
    Jim Crow, color bar, color line, colour bar, colour line
    barrier preventing blacks from participating in various activities with whites
    type of:
    obstacle, obstruction
    something immaterial that stands in the way and must be circumvented or surmounted
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