unfettered was our Word of the Day on 06/07/2012. Hear the podcast!
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A fetter is a chain or shackle for the feet (as on a prisoner), or, more broadly, anything that confines or restrains. The word derives from Middle English "feter" and shares a relationship with Old English fot, meaning "foot." In current English "unfettered" typically suggests that someone or something is figuratively "unchained," or unrestrained in progress or spirit. The poet John Donne is believed to have been the first to use "unfettered" in this way, in his 1601 work The Progress of the Soule: "To an unfetterd soules quick nimble hast / Are falling stars, and hearts thoughts, but slow pac'd."
First Known Use of unfettered
UNFETTERED Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of unfettered for English Language Learners
: not controlled or restricted
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