Synonyms & Antonyms of shackle

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 something that physically prevents free movement
  • placed shackles on the legs of the prisoners

Synonyms for shackle

Words Related to shackle

2 shackles plural something that makes movement or progress difficult
  • the shackles of illiteracy can be just as confining as leg irons

Synonyms for shackle

Words Related to shackle

Near Antonyms for shackle



Synonyms & Antonyms of shackle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to confine or restrain with or as if with chains
  • unwilling to shackle the dogs to the wall of the house

Synonyms for shackle

Words Related to shackle

Near Antonyms for shackle

Antonyms for shackle

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About shackle

How does the verb shackle contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of shackle are clog, fetter, hamper, manacle, and trammel. While all these words mean "to hinder or impede in moving, progressing, or acting," shackle and manacle are stronger than fetter and suggest total loss of freedom.

a mind shackled by stubborn prejudice

a people manacled by tyranny

When is it sensible to use clog instead of shackle?

Although the words clog and shackle have much in common, clog usually implies a slowing by something extraneous or encumbering.

a court system clogged by frivolous suits

When is fetter a more appropriate choice than shackle?

The meanings of fetter and shackle largely overlap; however, fetter suggests a restraining so severe that freedom to move or progress is almost lost.

a nation fettered by an antiquated class system

When might hamper be a better fit than shackle?

While in some cases nearly identical to shackle, hamper may imply the effect of any impeding or restraining influence.

hampered the investigation by refusing to cooperate

When would trammel be a good substitute for shackle?

While the synonyms trammel and shackle are close in meaning, trammel suggests entangling by or confining within a net.

rules that trammel the artist's creativity

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shackle

Time Traveler for shackle

Time Traveler

The first known use of shackle was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Shackle.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on shackle

Dictionary: Definition of shackle

Nglish: Translation of shackle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shackle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shackle

What made you want to look up shackle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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