[ tram-uhl ]
See synonyms for: trammeltrammels on

  1. Usually trammels . a hindrance or impediment to free action; restraint: the trammels of custom.

  2. an instrument for drawing ellipses.

  1. Also called tram . a device used to align or adjust parts of a machine.

  2. a fowling net.

  3. a contrivance hung in a fireplace to support pots or kettles over the fire.

  4. a fetter or shackle, especially one used in training a horse to amble.

verb (used with object),tram·meled, tram·mel·ing or (especially British) tram·melled, tram·mel·ling.
  1. to involve or hold in trammels; restrain.

  2. to catch or entangle in or as in a net.

Origin of trammel

First recorded in1325–75; Middle English tramayle, from Middle French tramail, variant of tremail “three-mesh net,” from Late Latin trēmaculum, equivalent to Latin trē(s) “three” + macula “mesh”; see also three

Other words for trammel

Other words from trammel

  • tram·mel·er; especially British, tram·mel·ler, noun
  • un·tram·meled; especially British, un·tram·melled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use trammel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trammel


/ (ˈtræməl) /

  1. (often plural) a hindrance to free action or movement

  2. Also called: trammel net a fishing net in three sections, the two outer nets having a large mesh and the middle one a fine mesh

  1. rare a fowling net

  2. US a fetter or shackle, esp one used in teaching a horse to amble

  3. a device for drawing ellipses consisting of a flat sheet of metal, plastic, or wood having a cruciform slot in which run two pegs attached to a beam. The free end of the beam describes an ellipse

  4. (sometimes plural) another name for beam compass

  5. Also called: tram a gauge for setting up machines correctly

  6. a device set in a fireplace to support cooking pots

verb-els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr)
  1. to hinder or restrain

  2. to catch or ensnare

  1. to produce an accurate setting of (a machine adjustment), as with a trammel

Origin of trammel

C14: from Old French tramail three-mesh net, from Late Latin trēmaculum, from Latin trēs three + macula hole, mesh in a net

Derived forms of trammel

  • trammeller or US trammeler, noun

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