noun tram·mel \ˈtra-məl\

Definition of TRAMMEL

:  a net for catching birds or fish; especially :  one having three layers with the middle one finer-meshed and slack so that fish passing through carry some of the center net through the coarser opposite net and are trapped
:  an adjustable pothook for a fireplace crane
:  a shackle used for making a horse amble
:  something impeding activity, progress, or freedom :  restraint —usually used in plural
a :  an instrument for drawing ellipses
b :  a compass for drawing large circles that consists of a beam with two sliding parts —usually used in plural
c :  any of various gauges used for aligning or adjusting machine parts

Examples of TRAMMEL

  1. <students and parents who want to throw off the trammels of outdated school policies>

Origin of TRAMMEL

Middle English tramayle, a kind of net, from Old French tramail, from Late Latin tremaculum, from Latin tres three + macula mesh, spot — more at three
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with TRAMMEL


transitive verb

: to limit or restrict (something or someone) unfairly

trammeled or trammelledtrammel·ing or trammel·ling \ˈtra-mə-liŋ, ˈtram-liŋ\

Full Definition of TRAMMEL

:  to catch or hold in or as if in a net :  enmesh
:  to prevent or impede the free play of :  confine

Examples of TRAMMEL

  1. laws that trammel our rights as citizens
  2. <years after his death, she was still trammeled by inconsolable grief for her deceased husband>

First Known Use of TRAMMEL

circa 1606


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