Usually, trammels. a hindrance or impediment to free action; restraint: the trammels of custom.
an instrument for drawing ellipses.
Also called tram. a device used to align or adjust parts of a machine.
a fowling net.
a contrivance hung in a fireplace to support pots or kettles over the fire.
a fetter or shackle, especially one used in training a horse to amble.
verb (used with object), trammeled, trammeling or (especially British) trammelled, trammelling.
to involve or hold in trammels; restrain.
to catch or entangle in or as in a net.

1325–75; Middle English tramayle < Middle French tramail, variant of tremail three-mesh net < Late Latin trēmaculum, equivalent to Latin trē(s) three + macula mesh

trammeler; especially British, trammeller, noun
untrammeled, adjective
untrammelled, adjective

1. drag, hobble, curb, inhibition. 8. hinder, impede, obstruct, encumber. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
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
3.  rare a fowling net
4.  (US) a fetter or shackle, esp one used in teaching a horse to amble
5.  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
6.  (sometimes plural) another name for beam compass
7.  Also called: tram a gauge for setting up machines correctly
8.  a device set in a fireplace to support cooking pots
vb , -els, -elling, -elled, -els, -eling, -eled
9.  to hinder or restrain
10.  to catch or ensnare
11.  to produce an accurate setting of (a machine adjustment), as with a trammel
[C14: from Old French tramail three-mesh net, from Late Latin trēmaculum, from Latin trēs three + macula hole, mesh in a net]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c. (implied in trammeller) "net to catch fish," from M.Fr. tramail, from O.Fr. (c.1220), from L.L. tremaculum, perhaps meaning "a net made from three layers of meshes," from L. tri- "three" + macula "a mesh" (see mail (2)). It. tramaglio, Sp. trasmallo are Fr. loan-words.
The verb is attested from 1530s, originally "to bind up (a corpse);" sense of "hinder, restrain" is from 1727.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
He thinks that an essay should be spontaneous and free from every artificial trammel.
The allowable depth of commercial gill nets, trammel nets, and other entangling nets may vary by area.
Sampling gear consisted of trammel and gill nets set overnight.
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