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noun shack·le \ˈsha-kəl\

Simple Definition of shackle

  • : one of two rings or bands that are placed around a person's wrists or ankles and that are connected by a chain

  • shackles : something that prevents people from acting freely

Full Definition of shackle

  1. 1 :  something (as a manacle or fetter) that confines the legs or arms

  2. 2 :  something that checks or prevents free action as if by fetters —usually used in plural

  3. 3 :  a usually U-shaped fastening device secured by a bolt or pin through holes in the end of the two arms

  4. 4 :  a length of cable or anchor chain of usually 15 fathoms

Examples of shackle

  1. <placed shackles on the legs of the prisoners>

  2. <the shackles of illiteracy can be just as confining as leg irons>

Origin of shackle

Middle English schakel, from Old English sceacul; akin to Old Norse skǫkull pole of a cart

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with shackle



transitive verb shack·le

Simple Definition of shackle

  • : to put shackles on (someone or something)

Full Definition of shackle

shack·ledshack·ling play \-k(ə-)liŋ\

  1. 1a :  to bind with shackles :  fetterb :  to make fast with or as if with a shackle

  2. 2 :  to deprive of freedom especially of action by means of restrictions or handicaps :  impede

shack·ler play \-k(ə-)lər\ noun

Examples of shackle

  1. The guard shackled the prisoner.

  2. <unwilling to shackle the dogs to the wall of the house>

15th Century

First Known Use of shackle

15th century

Synonym Discussion of shackle

hamper, trammel, clog, fetter, shackle, manacle mean to hinder or impede in moving, progressing, or acting. hamper may imply the effect of any impeding or restraining influence <hampered the investigation by refusing to cooperate>. trammel suggests entangling by or confining within a net <rules that trammel the artist's creativity>. clog usually implies a slowing by something extraneous or encumbering <a court system clogged by frivolous suits>. fetter suggests a restraining so severe that freedom to move or progress is almost lost <a nation fettered by an antiquated class system>. shackle and manacle are stronger than fetter and suggest total loss of freedom <a mind shackled by stubborn prejudice> <a people manacled by tyranny>.

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February 14, 2016

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