chain gang

noun
a group of convicts chained together, especially when working outside.

Origin:
1825–35

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World English Dictionary
chain gang
 
n
(US) a group of convicted prisoners chained together, usually while doing hard labour

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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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

chain gang
1834, from chain + gang.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Wartime alliances resemble a group of prisoners bound together in a chain gang.
Prisoners' work songs convey the meaning of life on a chain gang.
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