a chain or shackle placed on the feet.
Usually, fetters. anything that confines or restrains: Boredom puts fetters upon the imagination.
verb (used with object)
to put fetters upon.
to confine; restrain.

before 900; Middle English, Old English feter; cognate with Old High German fezzera, Old Norse fjǫturr; akin to foot

fetterer, noun
fetterless, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fetter (ˈfɛtə)
1.  (often plural) a chain or bond fastened round the ankle; shackle
2.  (usually plural) a check or restraint: in fetters
3.  to restrict or confine
4.  to bind in fetters
[Old English fetor; related to Old Norse fjöturr fetter, Old High German fezzera, Latin pedica fetter, impedīre to hinder]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. feter "chain or shackle for the feet," from P.Gmc. *fetero (cf. Du. veter, O.H.G. fezzera, O.N. fioturr), from PIE root *ped- "foot" (see foot). The generalized sense of "anything that shackles" had evolved in O.E. The verb is first recorded c.1300. Related: Fettered; fetters.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Later, he was fettered to a question he answered countless times but never resolved.
But his office is understaffed and his powers fettered.
After all, no coach in history with a playoff berth on the line approached the game with such fettered optimism.
He cannot conceive how one could be fettered by blushes.
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