1 : something impeding activity, progress, or freedom : restraint — usually used in plural
2 : a net for catching birds or fish; especially : trammel net
4 : a shackle used for making a horse amble
5 a : ellipsograph
b : beam compass
Did You Know?
A trammel net traditionally has three layers, with the middle one finer-meshed and slack so that fish passing through the first net carry some of the center net through the coarser third net and are trapped. Appropriately, trammel traces back through the Middle English tramayle and the Old French tramail to the Late Latin tremaculum, which comes from Latin tres, meaning "three," and macula, meaning "mesh." Today, the plural trammels is synonymous with restraints, and trammel is also used as a verb meaning "to confine" or "to enmesh." You may also run across the adjective untrammeled, meaning "not confined or limited."
In her memoir, the singer asserts that her musicianship was ultimately hampered by the trammels of fame.
"We learn a good deal about [Doc] Holliday: his grief at the passing of his mother when he was a teenager, his early career as an Ivy League-trained dentist, his quickness on the draw, his self-reinvention as an adventurer-wanderer, his yearning to shed the trammels of the conventional life." — Richard Bernstein, The New York Times, 22 Aug. 2001
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What is a synonym of the noun snare that is also the name for a twig covered with a particular substance to catch birds?VIEW THE ANSWER
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