Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

obstruct - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     obstruct pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleobstructing
past tenseobstructed
past participleobstructed
  1. 1
    to block a path, passage, door etc so that it is difficult or impossible for someone or something to move along or through it

    Tenants must not obstruct access to fire equipment.

    The child must have swallowed something that’s obstructing his windpipe.

    1. a.
      to physically prevent someone or something from moving along or through a path, passage, door etc by blocking it
    2. b.
      to prevent you from seeing something by being between you and the object that you want to see

      The trees in their garden obstruct our view of the sea.

  2. 2
    to take action in order to prevent someone from doing something or to prevent something from happening

    He disliked the project but had not actively obstructed it.



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play