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[teth -er] /ˈtɛð ər/
a rope, chain, or the like, by which an animal is fastened to a fixed object so as to limit its range of movement.
the utmost length to which one can go in action; the utmost extent or limit of ability or resources.
verb (used with object)
to fasten or confine with or as if with a tether.
Digital Technology. to use (an electronic device, usually a smartphone or tablet) to enable a wireless Internet connection on another nearby device, often a laptop:
There's no wi-fi, so I'll have to tether my phone to my laptop.
verb (used without object)
Digital Technology. to use an electronic device to enable a wireless Internet connection on another device.
at the end of one's tether, at the end of one's resources, patience, or strength.
Origin of tether
1350-1400; Middle English (noun); compare Old Norse tjōthr, Dutch tuier
Related forms
untethered, adjective
untethering, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for tethered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The boat which has been tethered to the weird, baleful shore is set free, and sails toward the glories of the morning.

  • He found his horse, which he had tethered to a tree, and mounted.

    Our Casualty And Other Stories James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham
  • Every time a flight of ducks appeared, our tethered ducks quacked lustily, the drake keeping silent; and it was effective.

    The houseboat book William F. Waugh
  • To this Hendrik agreed; and the horses were tethered out to graze.

    The Giraffe Hunters Mayne Reid
  • He looked back from where he tethered the mules for the night, but she had not moved.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
British Dictionary definitions for tethered


a restricting rope, chain, etc, by which an animal is tied to a particular spot
the range of one's endurance, etc
at the end of one's tether, distressed or exasperated to the limit of one's endurance
(transitive) to tie or limit with or as if with a tether
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse tjothr; related to Middle Dutch tūder tether, Old High German zeotar pole of a wagon
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 tethered



late 14c., "rope for fastening an animal," probably from Old Norse tjoðr "tether," from Proto-Germanic *teudran (cf. Danish tøir, Swedish tjuder, Old Frisian tiader, Middle Dutch tuder, Dutch tuier "line, rope," Old High German zeotar "pole of a cart"), from PIE root *deu- "to fasten" + instrumentive suffix *-tro-. Figurative sense of "measure of one's limitations" is attested from 1570s.


late 15c., from tether (n.). Related: Tethered; tethering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with tethered
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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