Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A metal fastening, usually one of a pair, for encircling and confining the ankle or wrist of a prisoner or captive; a fetter or manacle.
  • n. A hobble for an animal.
  • n. Any of several devices, such as a clevis, used to fasten or couple.
  • n. A restraint or check to action or progress. Often used in the plural: economic shackles that precluded further investment.
  • transitive v. To confine with shackles; fetter.
  • transitive v. To fasten or connect with a shackle.
  • transitive v. To restrict, confine, or hamper. See Synonyms at hamper1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A restraint fit over a human or animal appendage, such as a wrist, ankle or finger. Usually used in plural, to indicate a pair joined by a chain; a hobble.
  • n. A U-shaped piece of metal secured with a pin or bolt across the opening, or a hinged metal loop secured with a quick-release locking pin mechanism.
  • n. A restraint on one's action, activity, or progress.
  • v. To restrain using shackles; to place in shackles.
  • v. By extension, to render immobile or incapable; to inhibit the progress or abilities of someone or something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Stubble.
  • n. Something which confines the legs or arms so as to prevent their free motion; specifically, a ring or band inclosing the ankle or wrist, and fastened to a similar shackle on the other leg or arm, or to something else, by a chain or a strap; a gyve; a fetter.
  • n. Hence, that which checks or prevents free action.
  • n. A fetterlike band worn as an ornament.
  • n. A link or loop, as in a chain, fitted with a movable bolt, so that the parts can be separated, or the loop removed; a clevis.
  • n. A link for connecting railroad cars; -- called also drawlink, draglink, etc.
  • n. The hinged and curved bar of a padlock, by which it is hung to the staple.
  • transitive v. To tie or confine the limbs of, so as to prevent free motion; to bind with shackles; to fetter; to chain.
  • transitive v. Figuratively: To bind or confine so as to prevent or embarrass action; to impede; to cumber.
  • transitive v. To join by a link or chain, as railroad cars.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A bent or curved bar, as of iron, forming a link or staple used independently and not forming part of a continuous chain.
  • n. A form of insulator used for supporting telegraph-wires where the strain is considerable. It is usually of porcelain, with a hole through the center through which a bolt passes. This bolt secures the insulating spool to two iron straps by which it is secured to the pole or other support.
  • n. Hence Figuratively, anything which hinders, restrains, or confines.
  • n. In heraldry, some part of a chain or fetter used as a bearing, usually a single long, narrow link.
  • n. The wrist.
  • n. Synonyms . Shackle, Gyves, Manacle, Fetter, Shackle and gyves are general words, being: applicable to chains for either the arms or the legs, or perhaps any other part of the body, but gyves is now only elevated or poetic. By derivation, manacles are for the hands, and fetters for the feet.
  • To chain; confine with shackles; manacle or fetter; hence, figuratively, to confine or bind so as to prevent or impede free action; clog; embarrass; hamper; impede; trammel.
  • To join or make fast with a shackle.
  • n. Stubble.
  • n. A raffle.
  • In electricity, to place an insulator between the ends of (a wire that has been cut).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a U-shaped bar; the open end can be passed through chain links and closed with a bar
  • v. restrain with fetters
  • n. a restraint that confines or restricts freedom (especially something used to tie down or restrain a prisoner)
  • v. bind the arms of

Etymologies

Middle English schackel, from Old English sceacel, fetter.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Akin to Old Norse skǫkull ("the pole of carriage") ( > Danish skagle ("trace")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Is a title worth it-- does a title shackle a person?" the former Alaska governor asked during a discussion of her 2012 plans

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • She trotted out a line she's used before - going back, as JMart points out, at least a year to her fall appearance in Iowa - where she asked this question, Does a title shackle a person...

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • In fact, the chain shackle and wire rope clambered, as it were, up out of the groove on the right-hand side of the V of the wheel, got on the top of the rim of the V-wheel, and rushed down with a crash on the smaller wheel, giving, no doubt, a severe shock to the cable to which it was attached.

    The Breaking of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable on Board the Great Eastern

  • Both are subject to the shackle, which is imposed as a criminal penalty, or by the power of sergeants and commanders.

    Yoani Sanchez: The Squalor of Our Prisons Mirrors the Perverted Face of Our Justice [VIDEO]

  • GRACE: Well, on the other hand, to Jennifer Johnson, PIO with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation -- Jennifer, when a guy is in full shackle, which is not all that typical -- I mean, normally, a guy ` s either in handcuffs or handcuffs legirons.

    CNN Transcript Aug 10, 2005

  • Governments have no resources, so for those same governments to prop up the losers, they must by definition shackle the winners.

    Forbes.com: News

  • And then after we heard that there was a shackle, which is about a 24-inch total length chain with a handcuff at each end -- it's basically like leg shackles you see people put on their legs when brought into the courtroom -- as well as regular set of handcuffs, then we could start to say, OK, if she was on a bench and one end of that handcuff shackle was on the bench and she was trying to get out of her handcuffs, then I could say, OK, now I understand how that chain may have gotten across her neck.

    CNN Transcript Oct 10, 2007

  • But it is actually the last line that is the most relevant to modern culture for the progressive powers that be are determined to not only escape every "shackle" of Western civilization's past, they are committed to ignoring history, distorting history, and even inventing history to suit ideological ends.

    Vital Signs

  • The DSEi website explicitly states the sale of "leg irons, gang chains, shackles and shackle bracelets" are prohibited.

    UK arms fair under scrutiny over 'cluster munitions' stall

  • He sent me videos of such practices that include "shackle and hoist", designed to help drain the blood from the animal much more rapidly by pulling it into the air with chains attached to its hind legs.

    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: The Jewish Obligation for Humane Treatment of Animals

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