• synonyms


See more synonyms for fetter on Thesaurus.com
  1. a chain or shackle placed on the feet.
  2. Usually fetters. anything that confines or restrains: Boredom puts fetters upon the imagination.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to put fetters upon.
  2. to confine; restrain.
Show More

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 for fettered

hinder, hog-tie, clog, chain, encumber, repress, bind, manacle, leash, check, restrict, trammel, shackle, handcuff, cuff, hobble, restrain, curb, confine, hamper

Examples from the Web for fettered

Contemporary Examples of fettered

Historical Examples of fettered

  • They would not allow him to resist, but fettered him and led his spirit away.

  • In this spirit, he was fettered with great care, and conveyed into the interior of the prison.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Here again our legislation is fettered by ignorance and religious dogma.

  • Under the earth the fettered men—on the ruins of the church the singing bird.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • And shall we crouch above these graves,With craven soul and fettered lip?

    The Liberty Minstrel

    George W. Clark

British Dictionary definitions for fettered


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

Word Origin for fetter

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 fettered



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

Show More



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper