When you obstruct something, you block it. If you’re gobbling down your pizza, a chunk of crust you didn’t chew so well might obstruct your airway and you'll choke.

Obstruct also means to get in the way so that you hide something from view. That fast food tower being built next to your beach house will obstruct your lovely ocean vistas. And that scene gives you a vivid illustration of the Latin roots the word comes from: ob- "against," and struere, "build." You can also obstruct something or someone by putting up a roadblock, literal or figurative: when you park yourself by the exit door, you obstruct everybody's way out.

Definitions of obstruct

v block passage through

obstruct the path”
block, close up, impede, jam, obturate, occlude
disengage, free
free or remove obstruction from
show 17 types...
hide 17 types...
block off, blockade
obstruct access to
barricade, barricado
block off with barricades
prevent access to by barricading
asphyxiate, choke, stifle, suffocate
impair the respiration of or obstruct the air passage of
tie up
restrain from moving or operating normally
dam, dam up
obstruct with, or as if with, a dam
block out, screen
prevent from entering
earth up, land up
block with earth, as after a landslide
bar, barricade, block, block off, block up, blockade, stop
render unsuitable for passage
back up, choke, choke off, clog, clog up, congest, foul
become or cause to become obstructed
gum up
stick together as if with gum
block off, close off, shut off
block off the passage through
protect from light, heat, or view
bar access to
crap up
become obstructed or chocked up
block, choke up, lug, stuff
silt, silt up
become chocked with silt
Type of:
hinder, impede
be a hindrance or obstacle to

v hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of

block, blockade, embarrass, hinder, stymie, stymy
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
obstruct or hinder any discussion
obstruct deliberately by delaying
block or impede (a player from the opposing team) in ice hockey
prevent from reaching a verdict, of a jury
slow down or impede by creating an obstruction
Type of:
forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, prevent
keep from happening or arising; make impossible

v shut out from view or get in the way so as to hide from sight

“The trees obstruct my view of the mountains”
bar, barricade, block, block off, block up, blockade, stop
render unsuitable for passage
Type of:
conceal, hide
prevent from being seen or discovered

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.