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:

  • 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

  • Arabic influence on the Spanish language — has been significant, due to the Islamic presence in the Iberian peninsula between 711 and 1492 A.D. (see Al Andalus). Modern day Spanish language (also called castellano in Spanish) first appeared in the small Christian Kingdom of Castile in… …   Wikipedia

  • grass is always greener on the other side of the fence — or[grass is always greener on the other side of the hill] We are often not satisfied and want to be somewhere else; a place that is far away or different seems better than where we are. * /John is always changing his job because the grass always… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • grass is always greener on the other side of the fence — or[grass is always greener on the other side of the hill] We are often not satisfied and want to be somewhere else; a place that is far away or different seems better than where we are. * /John is always changing his job because the grass always… …   Dictionary of American idioms

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