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Blech. These are the grossest words.


[uhn-teth -er] /ʌnˈtɛð ər/
verb (used with object)
to release from a tether:
to untether a horse.
Origin of untether
1765-75; un-2 + tether


[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.
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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for untethered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Yes, yes," replied Grandfather Death, as slowly he untethered one by one the swine of Eubouleus.

    Figures of Earth James Branch Cabell
  • He went to the sled, untethered the dogs, and sent them scuttling up the ravine.

    Colorado Jim George Goodchild
  • To him she had always been what a pretty young matron usually is to a well-bred but hare-brained youth just untethered.

    The Younger Set Robert W. Chambers
  • She shook her head, while I untethered Dolly, the sorrel mare.

  • There was no use in awakening you, so I untethered Emperor as quickly as I could, and out in pursuit of him.

    The Silent Rifleman Henry William Herbert
  • A fleet of launches were now untethered upon the "Lightning."

  • Near by a horse, untethered, was quietly nosing at the trodden soil.

    The Cathedral Sir Hugh Walpole
  • She took a bow, untethered herself from the Steinway, and headed for the hatch.

British Dictionary definitions for untethered


not tied or limited with or as if with a tether


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 untethered

1775, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of tether (v.).



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