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barbed wire

noun
1.
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
1860-1865
1860-65
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for barbed-wire

barbed wire

noun
1.
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

n.

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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Encyclopedia Article for barbed-wire

barbed wire

fence wire usually consisting of two longitudinal wires twisted together to form cable and having wire barbs wound around either or both of the cable wires at regular intervals. The varieties of barbed wire are numerous, with cables being single or double, round, half-round, or flat and having a range of gauges. The twisted double cable provides extra strength and permits contraction and expansion without breakage. Barbs are diagonally cut in order to provide sharper points; they may consist of one or two pieces (two or four points) and are generally spaced at intervals of 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm).

Learn more about barbed wire with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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11
13
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