- 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.
- (often plural) a chain or bond fastened round the ankle; shackle
- (usually plural) a check or restraintin fetters
- to restrict or confine
- to bind in fetters
c.1300, from Old English gefetrian (see fetter (n.)). Related: Fettered; fettering.
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.