1. A device, usually one of a pair connected to a chain, that encircles the ankle or wrist of a prisoner or captive.
2. A hobble for an animal.
3. Any of several devices, such as a clevis, used to fasten or couple.
4. often shackles A restraint or check on action or progress: "throwing off the puritanical shackles" (Ben Yagoda).
tr.v. shack·led, shack·ling, shack·les
1. To put shackles on (someone); confine with shackles.
2. To fasten or connect with a shackle.
3. To restrict, confine, or hamper. See Synonyms at hobble.
[Middle English schackel, from Old English sceacel, fetter.]
(click for a larger image)shackle
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.