- a ring or other fastening, as of iron, for securing the wrist, ankle, etc.; fetter.
- a hobble or fetter for a horse or other animal.
- the U-shaped bar of a padlock, one end of which is pivoted or sliding, the other end of which can be released, as for passing through a staple, and then fastened, as for securing a hasp.
- any of various fastening or coupling devices.
- Often shackles. anything that serves to prevent freedom of procedure, thought, etc.
- to put a shackle or shackles on; confine or restrain by a shackle or shackles.
- to fasten or couple with a shackle.
- to restrain in action, thought, etc., as by restrictions; restrict the freedom of.
Origin of shackle
SynonymsSee more synonyms for shackle on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shackle
Conservatives distrust public officials and want to shackle them with detailed rules.Red Tape Is Strangling Good Samaritans
Philip K. Howard
December 27, 2014
An institution that might have protected us two hundred years ago has become a shackle.After Health-Care Ruling, Time to Reconsider Supreme Court’s Power
David R. Dow
July 8, 2012
So given all the evidence against it, why shackle women at all?Stop Shackling Pregnant Prisoners!
September 5, 2011
Did I make them, I would not attempt to shackle the conscience of any one.
“Why, the beggars have knocked the shackle off the chain,” cried Raft.The Beach of Dreams
H. De Vere Stacpoole
My tormentors did not shackle me; I was spared that humiliation.Lords of the North
A. C. Laut
Sad and strange to say, it is also associated with the whip, the shackle, and the cowhide.The Quadroon
A town without a charter,' he says, 'is a town without a shackle.'The English Utilitarians, Volume I.
- (often plural) a metal ring or fastening, usually part of a pair used to secure a person's wrists or ankles; fetter
- (often plural) anything that confines or restricts freedom
- a rope, tether, or hobble for an animal
- a U-shaped bracket, the open end of which is closed by a bolt (shackle pin), used for securing ropes, chains, etc
- to confine with or as if with shackles
- to fasten or connect with a shackle
Word Origin and History for shackle
Old English sceacel "shackle, fetter," probably also in a general sense "a link or ring of a chain," from Proto-Germanic *skakula- (cf. Middle Dutch, Dutch schakel "link of a chain, ring of a net," Old Norse skökull "pole of a carriage"), of uncertain origin. According to OED, the common notion of "something to fasten or attach" makes a connection with shake unlikely. Figurative use from early 13c. Related: Shackledom "marriage" (1771); shackle-bone "the wrist" (1570s).
mid-15c., from shackle (n.). Figurative use from 1560s. Related: Shackled; shackling.