• synonyms


[man-uh-kuh l]
See more synonyms for manacle on Thesaurus.com
  1. a shackle for the hand; handcuff.
  2. Usually manacles. restraints; checks.
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verb (used with object), man·a·cled, man·a·cling.
  1. to handcuff; fetter.
  2. to hamper; restrain: He was manacled by his inhibitions.
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Origin of manacle

1275–1325; Middle English, variant of manicle < Middle French: handcuff < Latin manicula small hand, handle of a plow. See manus, -i-, -cle1
Related formsun·man·a·cled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

fetter, chain, bracelet, shackle, iron, bond, pinion

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British Dictionary definitions for manacle


  1. (usually plural) a shackle, handcuff, or fetter, used to secure the hands of a prisoner, convict, etc
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verb (tr)
  1. to put manacles on
  2. to confine or constrain
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Word Origin

C14: via Old French from Latin manicula, diminutive of manus hand
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 manacle


mid-14c., "a fetter for the hand," from Old French manicle "manacles, handcuffs; bracelet; armor for the hands," from Latin manicula "handle," literally "little hand," diminutive of manicae "long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs, manacles," from manus "hand" (see manual (adj.)). Related: Manacles.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear

[Blake, "Songs of Experience"]
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c.1300, "to fetter with manacles," from manacle (n.). Related: Manacled; manacling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper