verb (used with object), shack·led, shack·ling.

Origin of shackle

before 1000; (noun) Middle English schakle, schakyl(le); Old English sceacel fetter; cognate with Low German schakel hobble, Old Norse skǫkull wagon pole, (v.) late Middle English schaklyn, derivative of the noun
Related formsshack·ler, noun

Synonyms for shackle

Antonyms for shackle

6, 8. liberate, free. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for shackled

bind, handcuff, cuff, confine, hog-tie, fetter, secure, chain, manacle, trammel, hold

Examples from the Web for shackled

Contemporary Examples of shackled

Historical Examples of shackled

  • They wanted me to be shackled: for early did they doubt my morals, as to the sex.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Cattermole, I believe, is earthed and shackled in the same manner.

  • Nearly all wore iron fetters on their legs, and some were shackled to the pillars.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • She saw the Padre shackled before he could rise from his blankets.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • This brought the pony's nose down close to his shackled feet.

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for shackled



(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

verb (tr)

to confine with or as if with shackles
to fasten or connect with a shackle
Derived Formsshackler, noun

Word Origin for shackle

Old English sceacel; related to Dutch schakel, Old Norse skokull wagon pole, Latin cingere to surround
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 shackled



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper