verb tram·mel \ ˈtra-məl \

Definition of trammel

trammeled or trammelled; trammeling or trammelling play \ˈtra-mə-liŋ, ˈtram-liŋ\
1 : to catch or hold in or as if in a net : enmesh
2 : to prevent or impede the free play of : confine

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Examples of trammel in a Sentence

  1. laws that trammel our rights as citizens

  2. years after his death, she was still trammeled by inconsolable grief for her deceased husband

Recent Examples of trammel from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trammel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of trammel

circa 1606

Synonym Discussion of trammel

hamper, trammel, clog, fetter, shackle, manacle mean to hinder or impede in moving, progressing, or acting. hamper may imply the effect of any impeding or restraining influence.
    • hampered the investigation by refusing to cooperate
trammel suggests entangling by or confining within a net.
    • rules that trammel the artist's creativity
clog usually implies a slowing by something extraneous or encumbering.
    • a court system clogged by frivolous suits
fetter suggests a restraining so severe that freedom to move or progress is almost lost.
    • a nation fettered by an antiquated class system
shackle and manacle are stronger than fetter and suggest total loss of freedom.
    • a mind shackled by stubborn prejudice
    • a people manacled by tyranny




Definition of trammel

1 : something impeding activity, progress, or freedom : restraint usually used in plural
2 : a net for catching birds or fish; especially : one having three layers with the middle one finer-meshed and slack so that fish passing through carry some of the center net through the coarser opposite net and are trapped
3 : an adjustable pothook for a fireplace crane
4 : a shackle used for making a horse amble
5 a : an instrument for drawing ellipses
b : a compass for drawing large circles that consists of a beam with two sliding parts usually used in plural
c : any of various gauges used for aligning or adjusting machine parts

Examples of trammel in a Sentence

  1. students and parents who want to throw off the trammels of outdated school policies

Origin and Etymology of trammel

Middle English tramayle, a kind of net, from Old French tramail, from Late Latin tremaculum, from Latin tres three + macula mesh, spot — more at three

TRAMMEL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of trammel for English Language Learners

  • : to limit or restrict (something or someone) unfairly

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unwilling or reluctant

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