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 tether (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

Verb They tethered the horses in the shade. The dog was tethered to the fence.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His mother, at the end of her tether, packs his belongings into a few garbage bags and drives him to his father’s Philadelphia doorstep. Jocelyn Noveck, Detroit Free Press, "Black cowboys roam the streets of Philly in appealing but predictable Netflix drama," 2 Apr. 2021 In blackwater diving, however, powerful underwater lights are attached to a tether to illuminate the water, often attracting animals, including sharks. New York Times, "The Ocean’s Youngest Monsters Are Ready for Glamour Shots," 30 Mar. 2021 Then a tether rope was cut and the aerostat soared up at a 60 degree angle to the applause and cheers of the throng. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Record hot air balloon journey started at Coronado 55 years ago," 9 Apr. 2021 Unlike older models that have a tether attached to the bike to trigger inflation, the Dainese Smart Jacket and Alpinestars Tech Air 5 System use gyroscopes and accelerometers to detect a crash and deploy automatically. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "All the Best Motorcycle Gear You Need to Start Riding," 30 Mar. 2021 Both Bitfinex and tether are key cogs in the trading markets. Paul Vigna, WSJ, "Cryptocurrency Firms Bitfinex, Tether Settle New York Attorney General’s Probe," 23 Feb. 2021 Watch out for anything the tether can get caught around, such as trees or shrubs. Anthony Marcusa, chicagotribune.com, "The best dog tie-out stake," 10 Mar. 2021 So Azeroth, the central planet of WoW, was our tether. Tanner Laguatan, Wired, "When World of Warcraft Is an Escape—and a Memorial," 19 Feb. 2021 Here is a frame with the rover hanging on the tether before landing. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Far Away From Perseverance Did the Descent Stage Land?," 3 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These meals would tether Zauner to her Korean heritage. Mayukh Sen, The Atlantic, "What Grief Tastes Like," 21 Apr. 2021 Each is designed to tether the pay of the state’s most powerful leaders to changes in the state’s wage levels every two years. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Mass. legislative leaders to get three pay raises starting Friday," 31 Dec. 2020 Your best bet in this case is to tether your smartphone to your computer and use it for video calls. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Slow video games? Blurry video chats? Here are 5 simple tips to fix your slow internet," 27 Sep. 2020 The initial model was praised for its all-in-one capabilities -- functioning without the need to tether to an external computer -- but was constrained by supply shortages and some basic hardware and form factor limitations. Mark Gurman, Bloomberg.com, "Facebook’s Quest 2 VR Headset Is Lighter, Faster and Cheaper," 16 Sep. 2020 Their daughters already are tethered to their online devices for school. oregonlive, "Coronavirus crisis has pushed the limits for working parents with school-age children," 30 May 2020 Using the super glue, the researchers could tether together two or three llama antibodies, allowing them to gang up on the virus. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Biologists invent a new way to fight viruses with llama blood and molecular super glue," 1 May 2020 The latter was tethered to the back section of the carriage, lending stability during tight maneuvers. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 30 Apr. 2020 When one plants a bean, one tethers oneself to the future. Charlotte Mendelson, The New Yorker, "It’s Time to Grow Your Own Beans," 24 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tether

Time Traveler for tether

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tether

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tether.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tether. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tether

What made you want to look up tether? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!