• unfettered
  • audio pronunciation
  • \un-FET-erd\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: free, unrestrained
  • EXAMPLES

The biographer has been given unfettered access to the family's collection of personal correspondence.

"In this era of urban sprawl and unfettered development, land preservation and conservation are keys to maintaining our outdoors heritage…." — From an article by Gary Blockus in The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania), May 8, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

A fetter is a chain or shackle for the feet (as on a prisoner), or, more broadly, anything that confines or restrains. The word derives from Middle English "feter" and shares a relationship with Old English "fot," meaning "foot." In current English "unfettered" typically suggests that someone or something is figuratively "unchained," or unrestrained in progress or spirit. The poet John Donne is believed to have been the first to use "unfettered" in this way, in his 1601 work The Progress of the Soule: "To an unfetterd soules quick nimble hast / Are falling stars, and hearts thoughts, but slow pac'd."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "boniface," our Word of the Day from May 21? The answer is ...

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE

An expressive t-shirt:

"Use Your Words"

Browse all items »

  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account