To block or hinder the passage or progress of something or someone.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



block, hinder, impede, hamper, interfere with, hinder, stop


Aid, assist, facilitate, help, unblock

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun obstructor, obstructors, obstruction, obstructers, obstructions, obstructer
Verb obstructs, obstructing, obstruct, obstructed
Adjective obstructive
Adverb obstructively

Example Sentences

  • The fallen tree obstructed the road, making it impossible for the cars to pass through.

  • The construction debris was left unattended, obstructing the entrance to the building.

  • Our view of the stage was obstructed by the tall person sitting in front of us.

  • The government passed new laws to prevent businesses from obstructing fair competition in the market.


The word “obstruct” comes from the Latin word “obstruere,” which means to build against or block. It is commonly used in English to describe an action or object that hinders or obstructs the passage or progress of something or someone. The prefix “ob-” in “obstruct” means against or in the way of, while the root “struct” comes from the Latin word “struere,” meaning to build or pile. Therefore, “obstruct” can be understood as something that acts as a barrier or blockage.

The term “obstruct” is often used in various contexts, such as physical objects blocking a path, mental barriers hindering progress, or legal proceedings inhibiting the course of justice. It can refer to both tangible and intangible obstructions. For instance, a fallen tree obstructing a road physically prevents traffic from passing through. In a similar vein, a closed road due to construction work obstructs the path for vehicles. On the other hand, the term can also describe intellectual obstacles, like a challenging problem that obstructs one’s understanding or a mental block that hampers creative thinking.

In legal settings, the term “obstruction of justice” is commonly used to describe an intentional interference with the administration of the law. This can include actions such as providing false information, tampering with evidence, or intimidating witnesses, all of which obstruct the lawful functioning of the justice system.

Overall, “obstruct” is a versatile word that portrays the act of hindering, blocking, or impeding progress, whether it be physical, mental, or legal. Its usage spans across a wide range of disciplines and contexts, emphasizing the idea of something standing in the way and preventing smooth operation or advancement.