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barbed wire

a wire or strand of wires having small pieces of sharply pointed wire twisted around it at short intervals, used chiefly for fencing in livestock, keeping out trespassers, etc.
Also called barbwire.
Origin of barbed wire
1860-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for barbed-wire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At the bluff's foot a barbed-wire fence marked the eastern boundary of the ranch's enclosed fields.

    The Mucker Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • He's going to teach people to take off their hats to barbed-wire fences.

  • Tommy (who is learning every minute about barbed-wire defences).

  • There was a barbed-wire fence intervening, and it pleased him to take it "on the fly."

    Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller
  • I was preparing to surmount the barbed-wire fence again, when the planter returned and halted for another chat.

    A Florida Sketch-Book Bradford Torrey
  • "This is the first barbed-wire entanglement," said Archer, as they approached.

    Tom Slade with the Colors Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • I went down to the barbed-wire entanglements and examined them curiously.

    They Shall Not Pass Frank H. Simonds
  • The gunners were only a hundred yards or so from the barbed-wire enclosures.

    A Lively Bit of the Front Percy F. Westerman
  • Well, anyway, they decided to put a barbed-wire trocha around all the mines and the factories.

    In the Heart of a Fool William Allen White
British Dictionary definitions for barbed-wire

barbed wire

strong wire with sharply pointed barbs at close intervals Also called (US) barbwire
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 barbed-wire

barbed wire


also barb wire, "fencing wire with sharp edges or points," 1863, American English, from barb + wire (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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