teth·​er | \ ˈte-t͟hər \

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 \

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

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 Video taken by news helicopters showed two New York Police Department officers, attached to tethers, climb up to the base around 6:15 p.m. — the time of the park's closing — and apprehend the woman. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump slams OPEC over gas prices; porn star lawyer eyes 2020 presidential run," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In certain cases, Newman said that Intel is working with PC makers to enable simple phone-tethering solutions. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Inside Project Athena: How Intel and PC makers are creating the ultra-responsive laptops of tomorrow," 7 Jan. 2019 More context: most of what people enjoy about the NBA happens on the internet and is only loosely tethered to actually watching basketball. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "The NBA is Broken, But Not Because of DeMarcus Cousins," 5 July 2018 This year, evening tethered hot air balloon rides are being offered from about 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. July 18-July 21. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Waukesha County Fair serves up deep-fried Oreos with a side of Sister Hazel," 3 July 2018 And while federal agencies, historically tethered to giant and swanky satellites, are still a little hesitant, NOAA has a beta program specifically to buy such smallsat data. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "It's Business Time for Rocket Lab, Launcher of Small Satellites," 22 June 2018 Spirits rely on conduits to deliver messages, and since your subconscious world isn’t tethered to form, loved ones often visit us in dreams. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Is Lucid Dreaming? Your Guide to Exploring Your Subconscious," 18 Sep. 2018 That would include measures enforcing consumer protections, legal monitoring and creating a defined framework allowing for mobile betting that is tethered to individual casinos. Adam Edelman, NBC News, "Cash-hungry states betting Supreme Court will legalize sports gambling," 12 Feb. 2018 That would keep Britain tethered to some EU rules and prevent it from striking free-trade deals. Valentina Pop, WSJ, "Europe Stands Firm on Brexit Despite May’s Push for Help," 13 Dec. 2018 The Vive Focus will sit alongside HTC’s older $499 Vive and $799 Vive Pro headsets, which are tethered to a computer. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "HTC’s China-exclusive Vive Focus VR headset is now launching worldwide," 8 Nov. 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

14 Feb 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

Spanish Central: Translation of tether

Nglish: Translation of tether for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tether for Arabic Speakers

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