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.