Word of the Day Archive
Friday September 2, 2005
trammel \TRAM-uhl\ , noun:
1. A kind of net for catching birds, fish, etc.
2. A kind of shackle used for making a horse amble.
3. Something that impedes activity, progress, or freedom, as a net or shackle.
4. An iron hook of various forms and sizes, used for handing kettles and other vessels over the fire.
5. An instrument for drawing ellipses.
6. An instrument for aligning or adjusting parts of a machine.
1. To entangle, as in a net; to enmesh.
2. To hamper; to hinder the activity, progress, or freedom of.
I feel she dances a symbol of human happiness as it should be, free from unnatural trammels.
-- John Sloan, quoted in New York Modern by William B. Scott and Peter M. Rutkoff
Is it a dull or uninstructive picture to see a whole people shaking suddenly off the trammels of reason, and running wild after a golden vision, refusing obstinately to believe that it is not real, till, like a deluded hind running after an ignis fatuus, they are plunged into a quagmire?
-- Charles Mackay, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
In fact, corporate governance is based on the belief that managers (like anyone else) work best not when their freedom is trammelled but when they are made to account for what they do with it.
-- "The way ahead", The Economist, January 29, 1994
It is quite inconsistent to claim to promote an enterprise society on the one hand and to trammel it with regulations on the other.
-- Sir Iain Vallance, quoted in "Stop squeezing business, CBI," by Charlotte Denny and Michael White, Guardian, May 22, 2002
And it encourages the coercive use of political power to wipe out choice, forbid experimentation, shortcircuit feedback, and trammel progress.
-- Virginia Postrel, The Future and Its Enemies
Trammel is from Old French tramail, from Late Latin tremaculum, a kind of net for catching fish, from Latin tres, "three" + macula, "a mesh."