To be on the fence
Fence Fence (f[e^]ns), n. [Abbrev. from defence.] 1. That which fends off attack or danger; a defense; a protection; a cover; security; shield. [1913 Webster]

Let us be backed with God and with the seas, Which he hath given for fence impregnable. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

A fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

2. An inclosure about a field or other space, or about any object; especially, an inclosing structure of wood, iron, or other material, intended to prevent intrusion from without or straying from within. [1913 Webster]

Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Note: In England a hedge, ditch, or wall, as well as a structure of boards, palings, or rails, is called a fence. [1913 Webster]

3. (Locks) A projection on the bolt, which passes through the tumbler gates in locking and unlocking. [1913 Webster]

4. Self-defense by the use of the sword; the art and practice of fencing and sword play; hence, skill in debate and repartee. See {Fencing}. [1913 Webster]

Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric, That hath so well been taught her dazzing fence. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Of dauntless courage and consummate skill in fence. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

5. A receiver of stolen goods, or a place where they are received. [Slang] --Mayhew. [1913 Webster]

{Fence month} (Forest Law), the month in which female deer are fawning, when hunting is prohibited. --Bullokar.

{Fence roof}, a covering for defense. ``They fitted their shields close to one another in manner of a fence roof.'' --Holland.

{Fence time}, the breeding time of fish or game, when they should not be killed.

{Rail fence}, a fence made of rails, sometimes supported by posts.

{Ring fence}, a fence which encircles a large area, or a whole estate, within one inclosure.

{Worm fence}, a zigzag fence composed of rails crossing one another at their ends; -- called also {snake fence}, or {Virginia rail fence}.

{To be on the fence}, to be undecided or uncommitted in respect to two opposing parties or policies. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sit on the fence — verb To remain neutral on a certain topic, to not have a stance or opinion. and Bloomah will sometimes sit on the fence, concerning whose discretion, the same thing may be said …   Wiktionary

  • sit on the fence — be indecisive; hesitate to decide; avoid getting involved …   English contemporary dictionary

  • (the) grass is always greener (on the other side of the fence). — The grass is always greener (on the other side of the fence). something that you say which means that other people always seem to be in a better situation than you, although they may not be. And when I haven t been out for a while I start to envy …   New idioms dictionary

  • To be taken aback — Take Take, v. t. [imp. {Took} (t[oo^]k); p. p. {Taken} (t[=a]k n); p. pr. & vb. n. {Taking}.] [Icel. taka; akin to Sw. taga, Dan. tage, Goth. t[=e]kan to touch; of uncertain origin.] 1. In an active sense; To lay hold of; to seize with the hands …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To take on — Take Take, v. t. [imp. {Took} (t[oo^]k); p. p. {Taken} (t[=a]k n); p. pr. & vb. n. {Taking}.] [Icel. taka; akin to Sw. taga, Dan. tage, Goth. t[=e]kan to touch; of uncertain origin.] 1. In an active sense; To lay hold of; to seize with the hands …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To take up the gauntlet — Take Take, v. t. [imp. {Took} (t[oo^]k); p. p. {Taken} (t[=a]k n); p. pr. & vb. n. {Taking}.] [Icel. taka; akin to Sw. taga, Dan. tage, Goth. t[=e]kan to touch; of uncertain origin.] 1. In an active sense; To lay hold of; to seize with the hands …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • On the quarter — Quarter Quar ter (kw[aum]r t[ e]r), n. [F. quartier, L. quartarius a fourth part, fr. quartus the fourth. See {Quart}.] 1. One of four equal parts into which anything is divided, or is regarded as divided; a fourth part or portion; as, a quarter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To hang in the hedge — Hedge Hedge, n. [OE. hegge, AS. hecg; akin to haga an inclosure, E. haw, AS. hege hedge, E. haybote, D. hegge, OHG. hegga, G. hecke. [root]12. See {Haw} a hedge.] A thicket of bushes, usually thorn bushes; especially, such a thicket planted as a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To throw on — Throw Throw, v. t. [imp. {Threw} (thr[udd]); p. p. {Thrown} (thr[=o]n); p. pr. & vb. n. {Throwing}.] [OE. [thorn]rowen, [thorn]rawen, to throw, to twist, AS. [thorn]r[=a]wan to twist, to whirl; akin to D. draaijen, G. drehen, OHG. dr[=a]jan, L.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fire on the Mountain (novel) — Infobox Book | name = Fire on the Mountain title orig = translator = image caption = The Dial Press first edition cover author = Edward Abbey cover artist = country = United States language = English series = subject = genre = Western publisher …   Wikipedia

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