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

The man on the board, French inventor and jet skier Franky Zapata, has for years been divining ways for humans to release themselves from the shackles of gravity. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "We were promised jetpacks, and now we have them. So why isn’t anyone using them?," 18 July 2019 These were the best footballers on the planet, and their individual talent allowed them to remove the shackles and create 'Joga Bonito'. SI.com, "Mario Zagallo: Habitual World Cup Winner & Sculptor of Brazil's Joga Bonito Era," 15 July 2019 Liberated from the shackles of the Old World, Americans were in command of their own destiny, no longer living by another’s leave. John Daniel Davidson, National Review, "Founders of the Frontier: David McCullough Discovers Ohio’s Puritan Pioneers," 11 July 2019 Kennedy took it upon himself to be the Great Liberator, removing the shackles from a prudish and — in his view — unjust society. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "Justice Anthony Kennedy was 'Catholic conservatives' worst nightmare' on the Supreme Court | Christine Flowers," 28 June 2018 As Loarca was led away in shackles to start his sentence, several of Parsons relatives wept in fury. Amanda Milkovits, BostonGlobe.com, "‘We’re never going to see him again’: Relative mourns Providence shooting victim," 30 Aug. 2019 And books were a means to his glorious end: to make his home town stand proudly on its own two feet, freed from the shackles of the useless town council, the Welsh Tourist Board and the quangos of the Development Board for Rural Wales. The Economist, "Obituary: Richard Booth died on August 20th," 29 Aug. 2019 An experience free from the shackles of sales and mass production. Vogue, "With Crapzine, Christopher Insulander Steps Into the Void of the Cancelled Stockholm Fashion Week," 26 Aug. 2019 Ammons’s wrists and ankles were in shackles with U.S. marshals around him. Laurel Demkovich, Washington Post, "Man said devil urged him to fatally stab worker on Frederick Douglass Bridge, court document states," 23 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The immigration officers shackled her and took her away, leaving her daughter behind. oregonlive.com, "‘America is Better Than This,’ Jeff Merkley insists in Donald Trump critique. Not so fast, senator," 15 Aug. 2019 Handcuffs were removed during the hearing but their ankles remained shackled together. Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, "New 'zero tolerance' policy on border creates overflow court hearings in South Texas," 6 June 2018 Just by himself, Curry could make a huge difference, draining 3-pointers to shackle any opponent’s dreams. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Disgraced USA Basketball needs revival at the Olympics," 12 Sep. 2019 Think about how Uber successfully disrupted the taxi industry, which was shackled by its reputation for dirty cars and grumpy drivers. Richard Bailey, Quartz at Work, "Disruption fatigue demands a new approach to being disruptive," 11 July 2019 Their hands rested in their laps, shackled with a chain around their waists and another around each of their ankles. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, "California Girl’s Escape From ‘Human Depravity’ Led to Rescue of 12 Siblings," 18 Jan. 2018 Hundreds of slaves were killed, and chained and shackled. Randy Blaser, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Instead of ending Civil War Days in Lake County, use it to tell the whole story," 13 June 2019 Hundreds of slaves were killed, and chained and shackled. Frank Abderholden, Lake County News-Sun, "Civil War Days back on the Lake County Forest Preserves schedule as debate rages over event's value," 12 June 2019 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

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

5 Oct 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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