man·​a·​cle | \ ˈma-ni-kəl How to pronounce manacle (audio) \

Definition of manacle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a shackle for the hand or wrist : handcuff usually used in plural
2 : something used as a restraint


manacled; manacling\ ˈma-​ni-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce manacle (audio) \

Definition of manacle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to confine (the hands) with manacles
2 : to make fast or secure : bind broadly : to restrain from movement, progress, or action

Synonyms & Antonyms for manacle

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for manacle


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

Examples of manacle in a Sentence

Noun manacles prevented the bear from roaming beyond a very small area the warring groups need to shake off the manacle of their troubled past and learn to live with one another in peace Verb manacled the prisoner to the wall in this situation, the police are manacled by unnecessary regulations
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Brown turned Milwaukee’s defense from manacle to meme. Globe Staff,, 4 May 2022 How to Be an Antiracist is a journal of Kendi's efforts to free himself of the ideological manacles clamped upon him by a society suffused with white supremacism, capitalist exploitation, misogyny and the repression of unconventional sexuality. Dallas News, 26 Aug. 2019 From every officer’s belt there dangled an insectlike furl of disposable plastic manacles. Caleb Crain, Harper's magazine, 22 July 2019 The genie is literally the slave of the lamp, his power bracelets actually manacles keeping him obedient to an endless round of masters. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 12 June 2019 But beyond the frenzied mix of hormones and alcohol is an intense curiosity in the outside world, one that noisily landed three weeks ago on the doorsteps of Russians, unfiltered and free from the manacles of politics. Amie Ferris-rotman, Washington Post, 9 July 2018 One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, 4 Apr. 2018 The cellar dungeons were complete with bolts, chains and manacles for securing captives to the floors. Jonathan W. White, Smithsonian, 27 Feb. 2018 In her delivery room at St. Francis Hospital, a heavy manacle around her right wrist kept her fastened to the bed. Rebecca Nelson, Cosmopolitan, 25 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His hands were manacled to a chain belt at his waist, and his feet were bound by leg irons. Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, 4 Dec. 2019 During those endless days and nights, everything was done to break his will: solitary confinement, pressure to confess by cruel supervisors and the humiliation of being manacled while receiving medical attention. Ariel Dorfman, New York Times, 27 Apr. 2018 They are filmed in lingering close-up as the opening credits roll, a montage of them manacling the wrists, ankles, necks, and dreams of African American men. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, 25 Feb. 2018 Early practitioners in literary study, the history of language, and anthropology were often ideologically manacled by the cultural mores that encased their object of study. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, 25 Oct. 2017 He was imprisoned and, along with several other artists, manacled for a period of 50 days. Anne Glusker, Smithsonian, 6 Apr. 2017 Although the new territory bolstered his neo-Soviet reclamation project, retaliatory sanctions from the West manacled the Russian economy. Jack Dickey,, 10 July 2017 Valedictorian Nickolina Doran told classmates not to let fear manacle them and halt their progress in life. Bill Leukhardt,, 20 June 2017 His hands were manacled in front of him; he was blindfolded by a dark hood pulled over his loose black Shirley Temple curls. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of manacle


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for manacle


Middle English manicle, from Anglo-French, from Latin manicula handle, diminutive of manicae shackles, armor for the hand, from manus hand — more at manual

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The first known use of manacle was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Manacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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