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[man-uh-kuh l] /ˈmæn ə kəl/
a shackle for the hand; handcuff.
Usually, manacles. restraints; checks.
verb (used with object), manacled, manacling.
to handcuff; fetter.
to hamper; restrain:
He was manacled by his inhibitions.
Origin of manacle
1275-1325; Middle English, variant of manicle < Middle French: handcuff < Latin manicula small hand, handle of a plow. See manus, -i-, -cle1
Related forms
unmanacled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for manacle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Although the blood was bursting from the nails Trenck forced his hand through the manacle.

  • In manacle and manumission we read the story of human slavery and freedom.

    The World I Live In Helen Keller
  • Here's a detective bound for Paris and prepared to manacle Talbot the moment he sees him.

  • She then took the key of the manacle out of her dress, and released me.

    The Privateersman Frederick Marryat
  • I was able to manacle his feet without awakening him, then took away his rifle and began to manacle his hands and his feet.

    Fighting Byng A. Stone
  • She rose and waited patiently while the manacle was affixed to her wrist.

    The Ten-foot Chain Achmed Abdullah
  • And, remember, if it becomes necessary, I can activate the manacle.

    The Players Everett B. Cole
  • "Come along, Robinson, and manacle this reprobate," he shouted.

  • My loved and lovely Soul has worn it through the ages: manacle, shackle.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
British Dictionary definitions for manacle


(usually pl) a shackle, handcuff, or fetter, used to secure the hands of a prisoner, convict, etc
verb (transitive)
to put manacles on
to confine or constrain
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin manicula, diminutive of manus hand
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
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Word Origin and History for manacle

mid-14c., "a fetter for the hand," from Old French manicle "manacles, handcuffs; bracelet; armor for the hands," from Latin manicula "handle," literally "little hand," diminutive of manicae "long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs, manacles," from manus "hand" (see manual (adj.)). Related: Manacles.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear

[Blake, "Songs of Experience"]


c.1300, "to fetter with manacles," from manacle (n.). Related: Manacled; manacling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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