shackle

noun
shack·​le | \ˈsha-kəl \

Definition of shackle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something (such as a manacle or fetter) that confines the legs or arms

2 : something that checks or prevents free action as if by fetters usually used in plural

3 : a usually U-shaped fastening device secured by a bolt or pin through holes in the end of the two arms

4 : a length of cable or anchor chain of usually 15 fathoms

shackle

verb
shackled; shackling\ˈsha-​k(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of shackle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to bind with shackles : fetter

b : to make fast with or as if with a shackle

2 : to deprive of freedom especially of action by means of restrictions or handicaps : impede

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Other Words from shackle

Verb

shackler \ˈsha-​k(ə-​)lər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for shackle

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

Examples of shackle in a Sentence

Noun

placed shackles on the legs of the prisoners the shackles of illiteracy can be just as confining as leg irons

Verb

The guard shackled the prisoner. unwilling to shackle the dogs to the wall of the house
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That the shackles of the prison system can't hold this Injustice League down. refinery29.com, "We Have Much To Fear In M. Night Shyamalan's New Movie," 29 June 2018 Rohan Nadkarni: Victor Oladipo, Pacers Free from the shackles of Russell Westbrook, Oladipo put together one of the more surprising seasons in recent NBA history. The Crossover Staff, SI.com, "The Crossover's 2018 NBA Awards: A Rookie of the Year Battle for the Ages," 11 Apr. 2018 Boosters see a chance to wave their party’s free-trade battleflag, a little tattered just now, and to reward the land of Churchill and Thatcher for shedding the shackles of a bossy and socialist Europe. The Economist, "The promised post-Brexit trade deal with America may never materialise," 5 Apr. 2018 Together, Sag and Libra represent the zodiac’s unstoppable force of what might be, powered by dreams of sloughing off the shackles of stuckness and grey colors, and rainbowing into the future of open plains and possibility. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes September 17-23," 10 Sep. 2016 Among the only human physical contact Mr. Guzmán has had since his extradition, his lawyers said, is when jail personnel touch his shackles. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Trial of ‘El Chapo’ Poses Unprecedented Challenges," 12 Nov. 2018 After their arrest, they were stripped of their clerical garb, according to Theoharis, and spent much of the next 27 hours in handcuffs and leg shackles. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin upbringing inspired Rev. Liz Theoharis' walk with the poor," 22 June 2018 The lawsuit said Latino children were frequently punished by being restrained for hours in chairs, with handcuffs and cloth shackles on their legs. USA TODAY, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse," 21 June 2018 The lawsuit said Latino children were frequently punished by being restrained for hours in chairs, with handcuffs and cloth shackles on their legs. CBS News, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia allege they were beaten while cuffed, left nude in cells," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the final days of her life, she was transferred from California to Washington to New Mexico, shackled for days on end. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "Roxsana Hernández, a 33-Year-Old Honduran Trans Woman, Died in ICE Custody Amid Concerns She Was Abused," 4 Dec. 2018 Prison conditions also would improve under the bill: Inmates would be placed in facilities located closer to their families, and women would no longer be shackled during childbirth. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Will the Senate Surrender on Criminal Justice?," 4 Dec. 2018 Immigration agents reportedly place handcuffs on the newly adult detainees, chain their handcuffs to their waists, shackle their legs together, and drive them to immigration jails. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "ICE Is Detaining Teens on Their 18th Birthdays," 24 Aug. 2018 But most people live safely locked up in their worlds, shackled by their history, comforted by tradition and seldom moved to action outside their comfort zone. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "A conversation about racism in Miami should include all groups – not just Cubans," 1 June 2018 Regulators, including at the Food and Drug Administration, have shackled every aspect of drug development under the guise of doing no harm. Paul J. Marangos, WSJ, "The Terminally Ill Need More Than the ‘Right to Try’," 13 Aug. 2018 Officers freed two who were shackled to beds and arrested the parents in a case that drew worldwide attention to severe neglect at the Perris, California, home that looked neatly kept from the outside. Amy Taxin And Michael Balsamo, BostonGlobe.com, "Girl reports abusive parents, says sisters are ‘chained up’," 21 June 2018 At Thursday's hearing, DeAngelo was again shackled to a wheelchair and rolled into the courtroom. Joseph Serna, latimes.com, "Golden State Killer suspect must provide new DNA samples and fingerprints, judge rules," 3 May 2018 He was widely believed to be the last African man alive who had been kidnapped from his village, shackled in the cargo of a ship and forced into slavery in America. The Washington Post, AL.com, "Zora Neale Hurston's lost book dealt with Alabama slave ship, Africatown," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shackle.' 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 shackle

Noun

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shackle

Noun

Middle English schakel, from Old English sceacul; akin to Old Norse skǫkull pole of a cart

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Statistics for shackle

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shackle

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

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More Definitions for shackle

shackle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shackle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of two rings or bands that are placed around a person's wrists or ankles and that are connected by a chain

shackles : something that prevents people from acting freely

shackle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shackle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put shackles on (someone or something)

shackle

noun
shack·​le | \ˈsha-kəl \

Kids Definition of shackle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a ring or band that prevents free use of the legs or arms

2 : something that prevents free action The country was freed from the shackles of oppression.

shackle

verb
shackled; shackling

Kids Definition of shackle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to bind or fasten with a ring or band placed on the legs or arms

2 : to prevent free action

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More from Merriam-Webster on shackle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shackle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shackle

Spanish Central: Translation of shackle

Nglish: Translation of shackle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shackle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shackle

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