) literary a restriction or impediment to someone’s freedom of action:we will forge our own future, free from the trammels of materialism
2 (also trammel net) a set-net consisting of three layers of netting, designed so that a fish entering through one of the large-meshed outer sections will push part of the finer-meshed central section through the large meshes on the further side, forming a pocket in which the fish is trapped. 3an instrument consisting of a board with two grooves intersecting at right angles, in which the two ends of a beam compass can slide to draw an ellipse.
[ early 18th century: so named because the motion of the beam is 'restricted' by the grooves]
4US a hook in a fireplace for a kettle.
verb (trammels, trammeling, trammeled ; Britishtrammels, trammelling, trammelled) [with object]
deprive of freedom of action:those less trammeled by convention than himself