Definition of fetter in English:


Line breaks: fet¦ter
Pronunciation: /ˈfɛtə


(usually fetters)
  • 1A chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles: he lay bound with fetters of iron
    More example sentences
    • Now a short chain led from my ankle fetters to an iron staple hammered into the floor.
    • He also announced a crackdown on bonded labor and said his government will ban indiscriminate use of fetters in prisons and while producing prisoners in courts.
    • Discipline was maintained by a free application of whips, fetters, stocks, manacles, chains and the kongo, an iron collar with a long beam.
  • 1.1A restraint or check on someone’s freedom to act: the fetters of convention
    More example sentences
    • They should be freed from the political fetters and given full freedom to act impartially.
    • It could make a person, an artist even, that hypothetical cipher of freedom from drab social fetters, wonder if she has been doing what she wanted all along.
    • There might be times when the tactics infringe individual freedoms such as the freedom to travel without fetter or freedoms of speech.


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Old English feter, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch veter 'a lace', from an Indo-European root shared by foot.

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