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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tethering
Historical Examples
  • The lines are knotted loosely, and a tethering strap is broken.

  • Mandy could hardly wait for the unloading and tethering of the ponies.

  • Meanwhile, Freeman had dismounted, and was tethering his horse.

    The Golden Fleece Julian Hawthorne
  • Dick's horses in Canada—and he trained many—required no tethering.

    Jan A. J. Dawson
  • There was a sharp clank as the windlasses were manned, and the tethering chains were drawn in by perhaps a score of links.

    The Lost Continent C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne
  • After tethering out our horses and making our breakwind for the night, we went out in the evening to look for a kangaroo.

  • tethering their ponies, the Indians cast their blankets on the ground, after having first picked out a suitable place.

  • We go into camp a little before sunset, tethering two or three of the horses, and letting the others range.

  • The experiment has been made of tethering the green variety of Praying Mantis on green herbage, fastening them with silk threads.

  • “It looks like a deer country,” Joses had said as they were tethering the horses amongst some magnificent grass.

    The Silver Canyon George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for tethering


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 tethering



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 tethering
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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