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
Especially is this so because though he breaks his fetters in many places he never escapes from them.
Other rich countries impose far fewer fetters than the land of the free.
Probably he thought that the picture of fetters and gyves in the minds of his
  disciples would better help the cause.
It may, of course, simply be that the fetters of euro membership alarm
  investors more than red ink.
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