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

Verb They tethered the horses in the shade. The dog was tethered to the fence.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Per company patents, a counterbalance that spins in the opposite direction will also be released to prevent the tether from becoming unbalanced. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "This Company Built a Gigantic Centrifuge to Fling Rockets Into Space," 30 Jan. 2020 For people like von Nida, getting dressed every day, despite being stuck inside, is a tether to identity. NBC News, "Dressing up and staying in: Coronavirus' effect on fashion is more than skin deep," 1 May 2020 More: Michigan orders electronic tethers removed from hundreds of parolees, then reverses itself As of Thursday evening, 338 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "3 more Michigan prisoners die of coronavirus; 338 have tested positive," 10 Apr. 2020 Her shimmying Matrix side table is composed of 27 wood-veneered cubes that repel one another (via internal magnets) and, at the same time, stick together (thanks to connecting stainless-steel tethers). Jane Margolies, New York Times, "At the Brooklyn Navy Yard It’s Full Steam Ahead," 12 Mar. 2020 For now, wires tether participants to the lab equipment that reads and interprets the electrical signals. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Minimuscles let amputees control a robot hand with their minds," 4 Mar. 2020 For those who aren’t local, Conroyd created a Fluid Running H2Go app, which users pair with a flotation belt, tether and Bluetooth waterproof headphones that are part of the package. Amanda Loudin, NBC News, "Injured or in pain? Water running may be the workout you've been waiting for," 15 Feb. 2020 More: Detroit's top cop questions if officer death could've been prevented, opens investigation Brooklyn was wearing an ankle tether as a result of being on probation through Wayne County, her mother said. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Girl, 12, goes missing from Detroit's west side," 22 Nov. 2019 In 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov went outside his Voskhod 2 capsule, secured by a tether. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 18 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb About 20 patients sit in a small space with him, tethered for several hours to machines that filter toxins from their blood. Reed Abelson, New York Times, "Dialysis Patients Face Close-Up Risk From Coronavirus," 4 Apr. 2020 This is the deal the media has made in tethering the identities of white people and the working-class. Carmen Rojas, Quartz at Work, "The problem with making “white” synonymous with “America’s working class”," 2 Sep. 2019 An analog clock gives you just enough information to keep you tethered to the world without overwhelming you. New York Times, "How Analog Clocks Can Give Us More by Giving Us Less," 5 May 2020 Although most economists predict the unemployment rate will continue rising in the short term, Trump's approval rating doesn't appear to be particularly tethered to the number of people with a job. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Can a president win reelection with historically high unemployment?," 30 Apr. 2020 Some are still coughing or tethered to oxygen tanks. Amy Harmon, BostonGlobe.com, "After coronavirus, survivors’ symptoms include relief — and guilt," 11 Apr. 2020 Balloon barges were used as observation vessels during the war and featured tethered kite balloons to ward off potential divebombers. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Shel Silverstein’s whimsical houseboat floats onto the market in Sausalito," 10 Apr. 2020 The rushed effort comes as the economy's fortunes appear tethered to political decisions in Washington. Author: Erica Werner, Mike Debonis, Anchorage Daily News, "Administration and congressional leaders converge on need for a second economic stimulus package," 7 Apr. 2020 The 6-piece kit includes a bowl, plate, collapsible mug, fork, and spoon/knife combo, all tethered together with an elastic band. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "The Best New Camping Gear of the Year," 7 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.

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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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Time Traveler for tether

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tether

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tether.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tether. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for tether


How to pronounce tether (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tether

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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