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 manacling (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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for manacle

Synonyms: Noun

band, bind, bond, bracelet, chain, cuff(s), fetter, handcuff(s), irons, ligature, shackle

Synonyms: Verb

bind, chain, enchain, enfetter, fetter, gyve, handcuff, pinion, shackle, trammel

Antonyms: Verb

unbind, unfetter, unshackle

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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


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


manacled the prisoner to the wall in this situation, the police are manacled by unnecessary regulations
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "A black author grapples with his own racism in 'How to Be an Antiracist'," 26 Aug. 2019 From every officer’s belt there dangled an insectlike furl of disposable plastic manacles. Caleb Crain, Harper's magazine, "Talkin’ ’Bout a Revolution," 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, "How ‘Aladdin’ came to be: Thank (or blame) an 18th-century French scholar," 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, "At World Cup, Russians embrace the world, one relationship at a time," 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, "Riley: To honor Martin Luther King, listen to his ENTIRE dream speech," 4 Apr. 2018 The cellar dungeons were complete with bolts, chains and manacles for securing captives to the floors. Jonathan W. White, Smithsonian, "When Emancipation Finally Came, Slave Markets Took on a Redemptive Purpose," 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, "She Knew She'd Deliver Her Son While She Was in Jail. She Didn't Expect to Do It in Chains.," 25 Oct. 2017 Greek mythological figure Andromeda is shown looking upward, her wrists bound in manacles. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "Guinea pigs or pioneers? How Puerto Rican women were used to test the birth control pill.," 9 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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, "A Kenyan Writer and Dissident on His Year in Prison," 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, "Riley: Slavery is still America's burden," 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, "Do University History Departments Have a Race Problem?," 25 Oct. 2017 He was imprisoned and, along with several other artists, manacled for a period of 50 days. Anne Glusker, Smithsonian, "This Rare Display of a Japanese Triptych is Only Usurped by the Great Mysteries Surrounding It," 6 Apr. 2017 Although the new territory bolstered his neo-Soviet reclamation project, retaliatory sanctions from the West manacled the Russian economy. Jack Dickey,, "At odds with his native Russia, Garry Kasparov tries to stay a move ahead of Putin," 10 July 2017 Valedictorian Nickolina Doran told classmates not to let fear manacle them and halt their progress in life. Bill Leukhardt,, "Teen Killed In 2015 Crash Remembered At Southington High School Graduation," 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, "Face to Face with the Ghost of ISIS," 24 Mar. 2017 He was imprisoned and, along with several other artists, manacled for a period of 50 days. Anne Glusker, Smithsonian, "This Rare Display of a Japanese Triptych is Only Usurped by the Great Mysteries Surrounding It," 6 Apr. 2017

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.

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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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Statistics for manacle

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for manacle

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

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More Definitions for manacle



English Language Learners Definition of manacle

: either one of a set of two metal rings designed to lock around a person's wrists or ankles

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