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fetter

[fet-er]
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noun
  1. a chain or shackle placed on the feet.
  2. Usually fetters. anything that confines or restrains: Boredom puts fetters upon the imagination.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to put fetters upon.
  2. to confine; restrain.
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Origin of fetter

before 900; Middle English, Old English feter; cognate with Old High German fezzera, Old Norse fjǫturr; akin to foot
Related formsfet·ter·er, nounfet·ter·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

hinderhog-tieclogchainencumberrepressbindmanacleleashcheckrestricttrammelshacklehandcuffcuffhobblerestraincurbconfinehamper

Examples from the Web for fetter

Historical Examples

  • Briefly, I sketched the Chief's report, Fetter nodding every few words.

    Priestess of the Flame

    Sewell Peaslee Wright

  • Marriage is no fetter about a man or woman, binding both to that which they may get to hate.

  • Each engagement, even a temporary one, was felt as a fetter by Erasmus.

  • It is a bauble meant to gratify her: why make it a fetter, be it ever so light a one?

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

  • The groan of breaking hearts is there—The falling lash—the fetter's clank!

    The Liberty Minstrel

    George W. Clark


British Dictionary definitions for fetter

fetter

noun
  1. (often plural) a chain or bond fastened round the ankle; shackle
  2. (usually plural) a check or restraintin fetters
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verb (tr)
  1. to restrict or confine
  2. to bind in fetters
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Derived Formsfetterer, nounfetterless, adjective

Word Origin

Old English fetor; related to Old Norse fjöturr fetter, Old High German fezzera, Latin pedica fetter, impedīre to hinder
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

Word Origin and History for fetter

n.

Old English fetor "chain or shackle for the feet," from Proto-Germanic *fetero (cf. Old Saxon feteros (plural), Middle Dutch veter "fetter," in modern Dutch "lace, string," Old High German fezzera, Old Norse fiöturr, Swedish fjätter), from PIE root *ped- "foot" (see foot (n.)). The generalized sense of "anything that shackles" had evolved in Old English. Related Fetters.

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v.

c.1300, from Old English gefetrian (see fetter (n.)). Related: Fettered; fettering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper