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fence

[fens] /fɛns/
noun
1.
a barrier enclosing or bordering a field, yard, etc., usually made of posts and wire or wood, used to prevent entrance, to confine, or to mark a boundary.
2.
Informal. a person who receives and disposes of stolen goods.
3.
the place of business of such a person.
4.
the act, practice, art, or sport of fencing.
5.
skill in argument, repartee, etc.
6.
Machinery. a guard or guide, as for regulating the movements of a tool or work.
7.
Carpentry. a slotted guide used especially with a framing square to lay out cuts on rafters and staircase strings.
8.
Archaic. a means of defense; a bulwark.
verb (used with object), fenced, fencing.
9.
to enclose by some barrier, establishing exclusive right to possession:
to fence a farm.
10.
to separate by or as by a fence or fences (often followed by in, off, out, etc.):
to fence off a corner of one's yard; to fence out unwholesome influences.
11.
to defend; protect; guard:
The president was fenced by bodyguards wherever he went.
12.
to ward off; keep out.
13.
Informal. to sell (stolen goods) to a fence.
14.
Nautical. to reinforce (an opening in a sail or the like) by sewing on a grommet or other device.
verb (used without object), fenced, fencing.
15.
to practice the art or sport of fencing.
16.
to parry arguments; strive to avoid giving direct answers; hedge:
The mayor fenced when asked if he would run again.
17.
(of a horse) to leap over a fence.
18.
Obsolete. to raise a defense.
Idioms
19.
mend one's fences, to strengthen or reestablish one's position by conciliation or negotiation:
One could tell by his superficially deferential manner that he was trying to mend his fences.
20.
on the fence, uncommitted; neutral; undecided:
The party leaders are still on the fence.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English fens, aphetic for defens defense
Related forms
fencelike, adjective
outfence, verb (used with object), outfenced, outfencing.
refence, verb (used with object), refenced, refencing.
unfence, verb (used with object), unfenced, unfencing.
well-fenced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for outfencing

fence

/fɛns/
noun
1.
a structure that serves to enclose an area such as a garden or field, usually made of posts of timber, concrete, or metal connected by wire, netting, rails, or boards
2.
(slang) a dealer in stolen property
3.
an obstacle for a horse to jump in steeplechasing or showjumping
4.
(machinery) a guard or guide, esp in a circular saw or plane
5.
a projection usually fitted to the top surface of a sweptback aircraft wing to prevent movement of the airflow towards the wing tips
6.
mend one's fences
  1. (mainly US & Canadian) to restore a position or reputation that has been damaged, esp in politics
  2. to re-establish friendly relations (with someone)
7.
on the fence, unable or unwilling to commit oneself
8.
(Austral & NZ, informal) over the fence, unreasonable, unfair, or unjust
9.
sit on the fence, to be unable or unwilling to commit oneself
verb
10.
(transitive) to construct a fence on or around (a piece of land, etc)
11.
(transitive; foll by in or off) to close (in) or separate (off) with or as if with a fence: he fenced in the livestock
12.
(intransitive) to fight using swords or foils
13.
(intransitive) to evade a question or argument, esp by quibbling over minor points
14.
(intransitive) to engage in skilful or witty debate, repartee, etc
15.
(intransitive) (slang) to receive stolen property
16.
(transitive) (archaic) to ward off or keep out
Derived Forms
fenceless, adjective
fencelike, adjective
Word Origin
C14 fens, shortened from defensdefence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for outfencing

fence

n.

early 14c., "action of defending," shortening of defens (see defense). Spelling alternated between -c- and -s- in Middle English. Sense of "enclosure" is first recorded mid-15c. on notion of "that which serves as a defense." Sense of "dealer in stolen goods" is thieves' slang, first attested c.1700, from notion of such transactions taking place under defense of secrecy. To be figuratively on the fence "uncommitted" is from 1828, perhaps from the notion of spectators at a fight, or a simple literal image: "A man sitting on the top of a fence, can jump down on either side with equal facility." [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848].

v.

mid-15c., "surround with a fence;" c.1500, "defend, screen, protect;" 1590s, "fight with swords;" the last from the noun in this sense (1530s); see fence (n.). Related: Fenced, fencing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for outfencing

fence

noun

A person or place that deals in stolen goods: but even big fences like Alphonso can get stuck/ The loot had disappeared and been handled by a fence (1700+)

verb

: The clown that stole the Mona Lisa found it hard to fence (1610+)

Related Terms

go for the fences, on the fence

[all senses are shortenings of defence; in the case of criminal act, the notion is probably that of a secure place and trusty person, well defended]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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outfencing in the Bible

(Heb. gader), Num. 22:24 (R.V.). Fences were constructions of unmortared stones, to protect gardens, vineyards, sheepfolds, etc. From various causes they were apt to bulge out and fall (Ps. 62:3). In Ps. 80:12, R.V. (see Isa. 5:5), the psalmist says, "Why hast thou broken down her fences?" Serpents delight to lurk in the crevices of such fences (Eccl. 10:8; comp. Amos 5:19).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with outfencing
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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