A Wall vs. Fence: Defined by the Merriam Webster

A Wall vs. Fence: Defined by the Merriam Webster


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Welton Wang
Managing Editor
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was a wall on the America – Mexico border. The recent record-breaking shutdown ended with a 3-week extension for current funding, but the battle for Trump’s wall is still happening.

However, a big controversy arose from 2009 speech where Chuck Schumer, the current Senate Minority Leader, supposedly supported a 700-mile fence around our southern border.  Regardless of whether it is actually true or not, is there really a difference between a wall and a fence?

Wall: noun, \ˈwȯl \

  1. aa high thick masonry structure forming a long rampart or an enclosure chiefly for defense —often used in plural 
    1. ba masonry fence around a garden, park, or estate 
    2. ca structure that serves to hold back pressure (as of water or sliding earth)
  2. one of the sides of a room or building connecting floor and ceiling or foundation and roof
  3. the side of a footpath next to buildings
  4. an extreme or desperate position or a state of defeat, failure, or ruin
  5. a material layer enclosing space 
  6. something resembling a wall (as in appearance, function, or effect) 
    1. especially:something that acts as a barrier or defense

Fence: noun, \ ˈfen(t)s \

  1. archaic:a means of protection: DEFENSE
  2. a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary
    1. especially:such a barrier made of posts and wire or boards
    1. an immaterial barrier or boundary
  3.  a receiver of stolen goods
    1. a place where stolen goods are bought

Source: Merriam Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fencehttps://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wall   The definition we are looking would be #1 for wall, and #2 for fence.   Definition #1 refers to a physical structure that is chiefly used for defense. Definition #2 refers to a barrier, both physical and not physical.   Both of these are mainly related to defense.  Furthermore, the Merriam Webster defines a wall as “something resembling a wall (as in appearance, function, or effect),”  Since a fence, in this case, shares the same function as a wall (defense), we can conclude that a fence can be called a wall.

Chuck Schumer VS. Donald Trump

While a wall and a fence are technically the same, the actual specifications for them vary.  Chuck Schumer once said that a 700-mile fence along our border helped curb crime.  On the other hand, Trump wants a 2000+ mile long “wall” along our entire Mexico – U.S. border.

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  • comment-avatar
    Doug Harper September 11, 2020

    The wall is being built and we love it. Knowing who comes into your house is a good thing. Always was always will be.