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[tram-uh l] /ˈtræm əl/
Usually, trammels. a hindrance or impediment to free action; restraint:
the trammels of custom.
an instrument for drawing ellipses.
Also called tram. a device used to align or adjust parts of a machine.
a fowling net.
a contrivance hung in a fireplace to support pots or kettles over the fire.
a fetter or shackle, especially one used in training a horse to amble.
verb (used with object), trammeled, trammeling or (especially British) trammelled, trammelling.
to involve or hold in trammels; restrain.
to catch or entangle in or as in a net.
Origin of trammel
1325-75; Middle English tramayle < Middle French tramail, variant of tremail three-mesh net < Late Latin trēmaculum, equivalent to Latin trē(s) three + macula mesh
Related forms
trammeler; especially British, trammeller, noun
untrammeled, adjective
untrammelled, adjective
1. drag, hobble, curb, inhibition. 8. hinder, impede, obstruct, encumber. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for untrammeled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Neglect may have come upon the gardens but even John Bartram could not deny the wild beauty of these untrammeled things.

  • You, men, are untrammeled and stand a better chance of success than I do.

    Edmond Dants Edmund Flagg
  • Strang and his love for untrammeled nature were hard pills for Mockwooders to swallow.

  • Besides, that gives us both one last, untrammeled season in town.

    Seven Miles to Arden Ruth Sawyer
  • She was able, with an untrammeled mind, to go on with the actual work of writing the scenario.

  • Persecutions ceased and the work was allowed to go on untrammeled.

    The Gist of Japan R. B. Peery
  • No nation has ever existed in which the conscience of men have been left so untrammeled and free.

  • With his life free and untrammeled he might yet find the truth.

    Carmen Ariza Charles Francis Stocking
  • We are with you in behalf of right and justice for all and for the untrammeled liberty of every American citizen.

    30,000 Locked Out. James C. Beeks
British Dictionary definitions for untrammeled


(often pl) a hindrance to free action or movement
Also called trammel net. a fishing net in three sections, the two outer nets having a large mesh and the middle one a fine mesh
(rare) a fowling net
(US) a fetter or shackle, esp one used in teaching a horse to amble
a device for drawing ellipses consisting of a flat sheet of metal, plastic, or wood having a cruciform slot in which run two pegs attached to a beam. The free end of the beam describes an ellipse
(sometimes pl) another name for beam compass
Also called tram. a gauge for setting up machines correctly
a device set in a fireplace to support cooking pots
verb (transitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to hinder or restrain
to catch or ensnare
to produce an accurate setting of (a machine adjustment), as with a trammel
Derived Forms
trammeller, (US) trammeler, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French tramail three-mesh net, from Late Latin trēmaculum, from Latin trēs three + macula hole, mesh in a net
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 untrammeled

also untrammelled, 1795, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of trammel.



mid-14c. (implied in trammeller) "net to catch fish," from Middle French tramail, from Old French (early 13c.), from Late Latin tremaculum, perhaps meaning "a net made from three layers of meshes," from Latin tri- "three" + macula "a mesh" (see mail (2)). Italian tramaglio, Spanish trasmallo are French loan-words.


1530s, originally "to bind up (a corpse);" sense of "hinder, restrain" is from 1727, from trammel (n.). Related: Trammeled; trammeling.



1530s, originally "to bind up (a corpse);" sense of "hinder, restrain" is from 1727, from trammel (n.). Related: Trammeled; trammeling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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