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[man-uh-kuh l] /ˈmæn ə kəl/
a shackle for the hand; handcuff.
Usually, manacles. restraints; checks.
verb (used with object), manacled, manacling.
to handcuff; fetter.
to hamper; restrain:
He was manacled by his inhibitions.
Origin of manacle
1275-1325; Middle English, variant of manicle < Middle French: handcuff < Latin manicula small hand, handle of a plow. See manus, -i-, -cle1
Related forms
unmanacled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for manacled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was manacled and guarded as though he were a raving madman.

  • I have already said my hands were manacled from the back; so also were Man Sing's.

    In the Forbidden Land Arnold Henry Savage Landor
  • His hands were manacled, his legs also were loaded with chains.

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • When the President was manacled and at the mercy of the House they would be satisfied.

    Albert Gallatin John Austin Stevens
  • True, he was soon too weak to lift his manacled hands in strife.

    Shadows of Shasta Joaquin Miller
  • The men were manacled together in twos, and sometimes three and four in a group.

    Ran Away to Sea Mayne Reid
  • When we were there he had twelve, all manacled, and reposing on grass mats at night.

    Southern Arabia Theodore Bent
  • One by one, the men in the room were manacled, despite their protests.

    Black Star's Campaign Johnston McCulley
  • They were ranged, manacled in pairs, beneath the same tree of sacrifice.

    The Lily and the Totem William Gilmore Simms
British Dictionary definitions for manacled


(usually pl) a shackle, handcuff, or fetter, used to secure the hands of a prisoner, convict, etc
verb (transitive)
to put manacles on
to confine or constrain
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin manicula, diminutive of manus hand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for manacled



c.1300, "to fetter with manacles," from manacle (n.). Related: Manacled; manacling.



mid-14c., "a fetter for the hand," from Old French manicle "manacles, handcuffs; bracelet; armor for the hands," from Latin manicula "handle," literally "little hand," diminutive of manicae "long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs, manacles," from manus "hand" (see manual (adj.)). Related: Manacles.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear

[Blake, "Songs of Experience"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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