• fetter
  • audio pronunciation
  • \FET-er\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: a chain or shackle for the feet
2
: something that confines : restraint
  • EXAMPLES

John keeps his smartphone with him when he goes hiking, but Linda leaves hers at home, preferring to free herself momentarily of the fetters of technology.

"At the moment, legally speaking, Internet cafes operate in Ohio without fetter or review." — From an editorial by Thomas Suddes in The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, December 2, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

While now used as a more general term for something that confines or restrains, "fetter" was originally applied specifically to a chain or shackle for the feet. Not surprisingly, the word's Old English ancestor, "feter," is etymologically shackled to "fōt," the Old English ancestor of "foot." Both words have a long history in the English language, dating back to the early 9th century, and are chained to Sanskrit "pad," Latin "ped-" and "pes," Greek "pod-" and "pous," Gothic "fotus," Norse "fōtr," and Old High German "fuoz."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "espouse," our Word of the Day from February 16? The answer is ...

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE
  • PODCAST

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

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account