teth·​er | \ ˈte-t͟hər How to pronounce tether (audio) \

Definition of tether

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a line (as of rope or chain) by which an animal is fastened so as to restrict its range of movement
b : a line to which someone or something is attached (as for security) A crewman can clip the tether of his harness to the [safety line] and leave it clipped as he makes his way forward and aft.— Michael A. Smith
2 : the limit of one's strength or resources I'm at the end of my tether.


tethered; tethering\ ˈte-​t͟h(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce tethering (audio) \

Definition of tether (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to fasten or restrain by or as if by a tether felt tethered to her desk until the work was done

Examples of tether in a Sentence


They tethered the horses in the shade. The dog was tethered to the fence.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For now, the tether snipping step still takes a minute. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New technique could help scientists create a gene in just 1 day," 18 June 2018 When Mueller-Korenek released her tether, Holbrook pushed the dragster’s pedal to the floor. Jason Gay, WSJ, "She Just Rode 184 MPH on a Bicycle. Really.," 17 Sep. 2018 The child rover would remain attached to its mother rover by a tether, which would provide power and communications. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A Japanese company has announced a long-term plan to develop the Moon," 26 Sep. 2018 Despite its lustrous cinematography, doom tethers each frame of Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight follow-up (Jenkins shares his Oscar for writing that screenplay with Tarell Alvin McCraney, Henry’s Yale classmate). Jenna Marotta, Vogue, "Brian Tyree Henry Still Roots for the Underdog," 23 Nov. 2018 Shu-Sei joined us en route to Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the three Grand Shrines that tether the UNESCO site. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "On the Trail With AdventureWomen and a 70-Year-Old Japanese Priestess," 13 Nov. 2018 Oculus Quest is the evolution of last year’s Santa Cruz prototype, an all-in-one VR system that doesn’t need a PC or a tether of any kind. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "The $399 Oculus Quest is a premium VR headset with no wires—and no PC required," 26 Sep. 2018 One of the most serious problems, of which there are many, is the vehicle is on a short tether, on average capable of straying only 1,000 to 1,600 feet from its manned control station. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Tank Drone Performed Poorly in Syria," 18 June 2018 Shelters must to be large enough for a dog to adjust its position, have insulation to maintain the dog’s temperature and tethers would have to be at least five times the length of the dog and weigh less than an eighth of the dog. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "Howard proposal adds teeth to laws on leaving dogs outdoors in frigid weather," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The walk to the beach passed the yard with the goat (who might or might not be there, tethered by a rope to a stake driven into the grass) and the ferry parking lot, and then the trailer court that occupied the tip of Catawba Point. Mary Grimm, The New Yorker, "Back Then," 17 June 2019 If a court rules that Delta was negligent in failing to ensure that Mundy’s dog was secured to the floor, will airlines create a policy where all support and service dogs must be tethered to the floor or contained in a kennel? Wes Siler, Outside Online, "The Grim Effect Delta's ESA Lawsuit Will Have on Travel," 4 June 2019 As a dinghy approached, a newish Infiniti FX35 appeared high above the Magestic’s deck, tethered to the derrick with thick nylon straps at the ends of steel cables. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 But Leonard isn’t a one-man band tethered to a stream of isolations. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Kawhi Leonard’s Superstar Evolution Has Another Dynasty On Its Last Legs," 10 June 2019 The change is a step to venture beyond the tech giant’s user base, which is large but currently tethered to device owners, to effectively compete with companies that have a big head start... Tripp Mickle, WSJ, "Apple TV on a Samsung? iPhone Giant Makes Risky Jump to Other Devices to Sell Services," 26 Mar. 2019 Instead, all tethering usage is limited to 600kbps. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Verizon’s new $95 unlimited plan offers at least 75GB of high-speed data," 14 June 2018 That leaves developers with only one option: floating wind farms tethered, or moored, by cables to the ocean floor that don't penetrate the surface. Rob Nikolewski, latimes.com, "Offshore wind farms are planned for California — but the Navy says no to large sections of the coast," 8 May 2018 Professor Smith said anyone considering a job at the White House would have to weigh the high risks of tethering his or her reputation to the Trump presidency. James B. Stewart, New York Times, "One Goldman Takeover That Failed: The Trump White House," 18 Jan. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tether


Middle English tethir, teder, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse tjōthr tether; akin to Old High German zeotar pole of a wagon

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Statistics for tether

Last Updated

23 May 2019

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Time Traveler for tether

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

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More Definitions for tether



English Language Learners Definition of tether

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a rope or chain that is used to tie an animal to a post, wall, etc., so that it will stay in a particular area



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

: to use a rope or chain to tie (an animal) to something in order to keep it in a particular area


teth·​er | \ ˈte-t͟hər\
tethered; tethering

Kids Definition of tether

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fasten by a line that limits range of movement



Kids Definition of tether (Entry 2 of 2)

: a line by which something is fastened so as to limit where it can go

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More from Merriam-Webster on tether

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tether

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tether

Spanish Central: Translation of tether

Nglish: Translation of tether for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tether for Arabic Speakers

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