1

fetter

noun fet·ter \ ˈfe-tər \
Updated on: 21 Apr 2018

Definition of fetter

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

fetter was our Word of the Day on 03/18/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of fetter in a Sentence

  1. a time-honored tradition is fine as long as it doesn't become a fetter that prevents us from trying something new

  2. claims that government regulations are unnecessary fetters that keep him from achieving his business goals

Recent Examples of fetter from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fetter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of fetter

Middle English feter, from Old English; akin to Old English fōt foot

2

fetter

verb

Definition of fetter

1 : to put fetters on : shackle
2 : to restrain from motion, action, or progress

Examples of fetter in a Sentence

  1. He found himself fettered by responsibilities.

  2. museum artifacts that serve as somber reminders of the days when slaves were fettered with irons

Recent Examples of fetter from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fetter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fetter

before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of fetter

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

FETTER Defined for English Language Learners

fetter

Definition of fetter for English Language Learners

  • : to prevent (someone or something) from moving or acting freely

  • : to put chains around someone's feet to prevent motion


FETTER Defined for Kids

1

fetter

noun fet·ter \ ˈfe-tər \

Definition of fetter for Students

1 : a chain for the feet
2 : something that holds back : restraint

2

fetter

verb

Definition of fetter for Students

fettered; fettering
1 : to chain the feet of
2 : to keep from moving or acting freely
  • He was fettered by many responsibilities.


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unwilling or reluctant

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