Why was "tantrum" trending last week?


[fet-er] /ˈfɛt ər/
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
Related forms
fetterer, noun
fetterless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for fetters
  • 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.
  • He remembered his father's rise in salary, pitifully small he now realized, which had finally released his leg from its fetters.
  • And so on to the end of the long register, all toiling together in the galling fetters of the tenement.
  • The sea of a mighty population, held in galling fetters, heaves uneasily in the tenements.
  • The shop triumphs, and fetters more galling than ever are forged for the tenant.
British Dictionary definitions for fetters


(often pl) a chain or bond fastened round the ankle; shackle
(usually pl) a check or restraint: in fetters
verb (transitive)
to restrict or confine
to bind in fetters
Derived Forms
fetterer, noun
fetterless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English fetor; related to Old Norse fjöturr fetter, Old High German fezzera, Latin pedica fetter, impedīre to hinder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for fetters



Old English fetor "chain or shackle for the feet," from Proto-Germanic *fetero (cf. Old Saxon feteros (plural), Middle Dutch veter "fetter," in modern Dutch "lace, string," Old High German fezzera, Old Norse fiöturr, Swedish fjätter), from PIE root *ped- "foot" (see foot (n.)). The generalized sense of "anything that shackles" had evolved in Old English. Related Fetters.


c.1300, from Old English gefetrian (see fetter (n.)). Related: Fettered; fettering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fetter

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fetters

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with fetters

Nearby words for fetters