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teth·​er ˈte-t͟hər How to pronounce tether (audio)
: a line (as of rope or chain) by which an animal is fastened so as to restrict its range of movement
: 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
: the limit of one's strength or resources
I'm at the end of my tether.


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

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
Szapudi instead proposes connecting it to an asteroid counterweight by tethers up to 1.9 million miles long. Popular Science, 9 Aug. 2023 IndyCar introduced wheel tethers, meant to secure wheels to cars even in the event of a crash, in 1999. Rob Peeters, The Indianapolis Star, 28 May 2023 As the moon and Pluto harmonize, psychic tethers heighten the intensity of a relationship! USA TODAY, 2 May 2023 As if the cream wasn’t already top-shelf in terms of its anti-aging prowess, this new formulation tethers those Caviar Micro-Nutrients with another La Prairie innovation: Caviar Premier. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 1 Sep. 2023 Pets like Goose, a 3–year–old Siberian Husky that was rescued by AHS Cruelty Investigators earlier this month when he was found with his left hind leg completely entangled by his tether. The Republic, The Arizona Republic, 2 Sep. 2023 Those tethers are long enough to let the buoy barrier shift somewhat. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, 10 Aug. 2023 At the end of Altered States, Hurt’s Dr. Jessup is pulled back to reality by his ex-wife (Blair Brown), whose love tethers him to human existence and, in turn, the modern world. Fran Hoepfner, Curbed, 8 Aug. 2023 Ahead of 2023, IndyCar had made significant updates to those tethers, increasing their thread count by 60% while decreasing their use life. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 19 July 2023
The yearling pup was rescued about two weeks ago after barricading herself on a boat tethered to a dock at the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2023 There’s a kinship here with the films of Terry Gilliam, though the fantastical flourishes are tethered to a modern woman’s coming-of-age story, grounded in its own brand of realism. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Sep. 2023 Additionally, short umbilical cords can tether the fetus underwater or tear, leading to fetal blood loss. Bekka Besich, Parents, 3 Sep. 2023 Thankfully, he was found in time and able to be treated however his story serves as a reminder of the dangers of tethering. The Republic, The Arizona Republic, 2 Sep. 2023 The African Gods are forever tethered to this Christianity because they were hidden, merged or entwined within these Catholic saints. Okla Jones, Essence, 2 Sep. 2023 Beginning this season, though, the SEC will no longer be exclusively tethered to CBS’ mid-afternoon college football programming on Saturdays. Craig Meyer, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Sep. 2023 The buoys are made of hard plastic, tethered to the bottom of the river with heavy cable and only about a half-mile long. Mireya Villarreal, ABC News, 2 Aug. 2023 No matter how outrageous Indy’s trouble, Ford’s persona and outwardly effortless charm — and his ability to drop that rakish smile for something darker, meaner, even threatening — have kept the character tethered to the real world of feelings and consequences. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tether.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near tether

Cite this Entry

“Tether.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tether. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
teth·​er ˈtet͟h-ər How to pronounce tether (audio)
: a line by which something (as an animal or a balloon) is fastened so as to limit its range


2 of 2 verb
tethered; tethering ˈtet͟h-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce tether (audio)
: to fasten or hold with or as if with a tether
felt tethered to my desk
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