shackle

noun
shack·​le | \ ˈsha-kəl How to pronounce shackle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce shackling (audio) \

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 How to pronounce shackler (audio) \ 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

And to prevent jurors from seeing the defendants in shackles, court officials will wrap the defense table with a cloth skirt and remove the jury from the courtroom before the defendants are led in or out. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Richard Grundy's federal drug trial starts Monday. Here's what you need to know.," 7 July 2019 Lifesaving medicine is being withheld, and pregnant women have been forced to give birth in shackles. Esther J. Cepeda, The Mercury News, "Cepeda: Our tax dollars are funding human rights violations," 5 July 2019 Stanton tried to run, but the leg shackles caused him to trip and fall, police reports say. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Man accused of shooting ex-boss after getting fired jumps out of Cleveland cop car on the way to jail, police say," 4 July 2019 To have my father and son see me in shackles was the most humiliating moment of my life. Mike Klingaman, baltimoresun.com, "After fighting addiction, WBAL sportscaster Keith Mills retiring as 'a Baltimore treasure'," 27 June 2019 Control became the blueprint for future female singers who felt confined by the shackles of their record label and wanted to take, well, control of their musicianship. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "What She's Done for Us: The Essential Guide to Janet Jackson's Career," 17 May 2018 Bob Woodward’s many books have benefited enormously from tales of former aides freed from the shackles of service, usually not attributed directly to them but often clear enough to the presidents who read with seething anger. Peter Baker, New York Times, "For Trump, Book Raises Familiar Questions of Loyalty and Candor," 5 Jan. 2018 Released on $250,000 bond, Stone emerged in the Florida sunshine in a polo shirt, jeans, and shackles. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Trump’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," 27 Jan. 2019 Identity politics and its enforcement have placed shackles on our ability to coexist as Americans. WSJ, "Progressive Groupthink Is a Threat to Liberty," 17 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Senate Democrats introduced a bill in March that would prevent DHS—which oversees ICE, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection—from detaining and shackling pregnant migrant women. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "A pregnant woman miscarried while in Border Patrol custody on July 4," 9 July 2019 The following year was a disastrous one, as the US was knocked out in the Olympic quarterfinals on penalties after being shackled for 120 minutes by Sweden. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Jill Ellis: The shy girl from England who became US Soccer's record-breaking head coach," 5 July 2019 With Woodruff shackling the Pittsburgh Pirates on six hits and one run over 7 ⅔ innings, the Brewers squeezed out a 3-1 victory at Miller Park. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 3, Pirates 1: Brandon Woodruff becomes the first 10-game winner in National League," 29 June 2019 Hicks listened attentively throughout, his hands shackled. NBC News, "Man sentenced to three life terms without parole for killing three Muslims," 13 June 2019 Before Scot Peterson appeared in a packed courtroom on Thursday morning, the clinking chains shackling his hands and feet announced his entrance. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "Ex-school deputy Scot Peterson walks out of jail after judge reduces bond," 6 June 2019 The inmate was shackled and in handcuffs, CBS affiliate KCTV reported. CBS News, "Second sheriff's deputy dies following shooting in Kansas," 16 June 2018 As the man lay shackled to his hospital bed by both wrists and ankles and at his waist, the skin on his back began to ulcerate. Sheri Fink, New York Times, "Migrants in Custody at Hospitals Are Treated Like Felons, Doctors Say," 10 June 2019 After media reports of pregnant women being shackled around the stomach and miscarrying in detention, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill in July to reinstate the Obama policy and ban almost all shackling of pregnant women. Heidi Vogt, WSJ, "ICE Drafts Guidelines With Fewer Restrictions on Restraining Pregnant Women," 21 Dec. 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

13 Jul 2019

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
: 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 How to pronounce shackle (audio) \

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

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