un·​fet·​tered ˌən-ˈfe-tərd How to pronounce unfettered (audio)
: not controlled or restricted : free, unrestrained
unfettered access to the Senate.Joshua Miller
… an approach to reading which combined passion and empathy with free-ranging enthusiasm and unfettered curiosity.Jonathan Keates
If popular government is about anything, it is about the unfettered right of the voters to choose their leaders.Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
… few voices in modern American intellectual life have challenged the primacy of the unfettered individual.Walter Shapiro

Did you know?

A fetter is a chain or shackle for the feet (such as the kind sometimes used on a prisoner), or, more broadly, anything that confines or restrains. Fetter and unfetter both function as verbs in English with contrasting literal meanings having to do with the putting on of and freeing from fetters; they likewise have contrasting figurative extensions having to do with the depriving and granting of freedom. The adjective unfettered resides mostly in the figurative, with the word typically describing someone or something unrestrained in progress or spirit. This is how Irish author James Joyce used the word in his 1916 autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when the character of Cranly recalls to his best friend Stephen what he (Stephen) said he wishes to do in life: "To discover the mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom."

Examples of unfettered in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In reality, many demonstrators were there to direct their anger at unfettered capitalism in general and its spirit animal in particular. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune Europe, 13 May 2024 Try to plan your stargazing spot using a light pollution map or by checking with your local astronomical society for tips on the best places to go for unfettered viewing. Wes Davis, The Verge, 5 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for unfettered 

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

Word History

First Known Use

1602, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unfettered was in 1602


Dictionary Entries Near unfettered

Cite this Entry

“Unfettered.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfettered. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on unfettered

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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