fetter

noun
fet·​ter | \ ˈfe-tər How to pronounce fetter (audio) \

Definition of fetter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

fetter

verb
fettered; fettering; fetters

Definition of fetter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for fetter

Verb

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

Did You Know?

Noun

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.

Examples of fetter in a Sentence

Noun a time-honored tradition is fine as long as it doesn't become a fetter that prevents us from trying something new claims that government regulations are unnecessary fetters that keep him from achieving his business goals Verb He found himself fettered by responsibilities. museum artifacts that serve as somber reminders of the days when slaves were fettered with irons
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Like the shrimp and grits, the fetter papa burger ($15) is appropriately decadent. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "40 craft beers and a vegetarian-friendly menu make Crescent Hill Craft House stand out," 28 Aug. 2019 The smartest of Logan's four children spent most of Succession's first season rejecting the fetters of the Roy name to varying degrees of success. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Won the Succession Game of Thrones This Week?," 12 Aug. 2019 Rousseau regarded them as fetters on the people’s freedoms. The Economist, "Long live the Tory revolution!," 1 Aug. 2019 India has a populist leader happy to interfere with the central bank, China has ditched term limits to make its Communist leadership even more dictatorial than usual and the Philippine president revels in rejecting fetters on extrajudicial killing. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Investor Lessons From Turkey’s Crash to Earth," 14 Aug. 2018 The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. Eli Meixler, Time, "What Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump Said to Each Other When They First Met," 13 June 2018 In its latest phase, from the 1990s, Germany has reunified, become a normal country again and shed some of the fetters of its past. The Economist, "Germany is becoming more open and diverse," 14 Apr. 2018 Vern Thiessen’s adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s novel of emotional fetters and romantic entanglements finishes its run. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "What’s New in NYC Theater," 27 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Teddy Roosevelt broke up the trusts, regulated the food supply, created the National Park System, and fettered the railroads. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Opponents of ‘Unfettered Capitalism’ Are Fighting a Phantom," 22 Nov. 2019 Botany was also often fettered to expertise in gardening, another activity that fell within the realm of the feminine. Amandas Ong, The Atlantic, "Why Pop Culture Links Women and Killer Plants," 17 Apr. 2018 In many developing countries, girls face two starkly divergent paths: one fettered by gender inequality and cut short by early childbearing and the other offering personal fulfillment and economic improvement that benefit families and nations. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "The girls who took over a town in rural India," 15 Apr. 2018 While your job is to enforce the consistency that stylebooks aim for, you must not be fettered by it. John E. Mcintyre, baltimoresun.com, "Eight rules for editors," 25 Aug. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of fetter

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fetter

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for fetter

Time Traveler

The first known use of fetter was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Fetter.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fettering. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for fetter

fetter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fetter

formal : to prevent (someone or something) from moving or acting freely
old-fashioned : to put chains around someone's feet to prevent motion

fetter

noun
fet·​ter | \ ˈfe-tər How to pronounce fetter (audio) \

Kids Definition of fetter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

fetter

verb
fettered; fettering

Kids Definition of fetter (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on fetter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fetter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fetter

Spanish Central: Translation of fetter

Nglish: Translation of fetter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fetter for Arabic Speakers

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