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.
[1860-65]

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 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).

      The first patents on barbed wire were taken out in the United States in 1867, but it was not until 1874, when Joseph Glidden (Glidden, Joseph Farwell) of De Kalb, Ill., invented a practical machine for its manufacture, that the innovation became widespread. By 1890, fenced pastureland had virtually replaced the open range in the western United States.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Barbed wire — Barbed Barbed, a. Furnished with a barb or barbs; as, a barbed arrow; barbed wire. [1913 Webster] {Barbed wire}, a wire, or a strand of twisted wires, armed with barbs or sharp points. It is used for fences. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • barbed wire — n [U] wire with short sharp points on it ▪ a high barbed wire fence …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • barbed wire — also barb wire, fencing wire with sharp edges or points, 1863, Amer.Eng., from BARB (Cf. barb) + WIRE (Cf. wire) …   Etymology dictionary

  • barbed wire — barbed′ wire′ n. bui strands of wire twisted together with small pieces of sharply pointed wire at short intervals, used for fencing Also called barbwire • Etymology: 1860–65 …   From formal English to slang

  • barbed wire — noun uncount * thick wire with a lot of sharp points sticking out of it, used for making fences …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • barbed wire — ► NOUN ▪ wire with clusters of short, sharp spikes at intervals along it …   English terms dictionary

  • barbed wire — ☆ barbed wire n. strands of wire twisted together, with barbs at regular, close intervals, used for fencing or military barriers …   English World dictionary

  • Barbed wire — For other uses, see Barb wire (disambiguation). A close up view of a barbed wire barb …   Wikipedia

  • barbed wire — noun strong wire with barbs at regular intervals used to prevent passage (Freq. 4) • Syn: ↑barbwire • Hypernyms: ↑wire • Hyponyms: ↑concertina • Part Meronyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • barbed wire — N UNCOUNT: oft N n Barbed wire is strong wire with sharp points sticking out of it, and is used to make fences. The factory was surrounded by barbed wire. ...a barbed wire fence …   English dictionary

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