noun tram·mel \ˈtra-məl\

Definition of TRAMMEL

:  a net for catching birds or fish; especially :  one having three layers with the middle one finer-meshed and slack so that fish passing through carry some of the center net through the coarser opposite net and are trapped
:  an adjustable pothook for a fireplace crane
:  a shackle used for making a horse amble
:  something impeding activity, progress, or freedom :  restraint —usually used in plural
a :  an instrument for drawing ellipses
b :  a compass for drawing large circles that consists of a beam with two sliding parts —usually used in plural
c :  any of various gauges used for aligning or adjusting machine parts

Origin of TRAMMEL

Middle English tramayle, a kind of net, from Old French tramail, from Late Latin tremaculum, from Latin tres three + macula mesh, spot — more at three
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with TRAMMEL


transitive verb

: to limit or restrict (something or someone) unfairly

trammeled or trammelledtrammel·ing or trammel·ling \ˈtra-mə-liŋ, ˈtram-liŋ\

Full Definition of TRAMMEL

:  to catch or hold in or as if in a net :  enmesh
:  to prevent or impede the free play of :  confine

First Known Use of TRAMMEL

circa 1606

Synonym Discussion of TRAMMEL

hamper, trammel, clog, fetter, shackle, manacle mean to hinder or impede in moving, progressing, or acting. hamper may imply the effect of any impeding or restraining influence <hampered the investigation by refusing to cooperate>. trammel suggests entangling by or confining within a net <rules that trammel the artist's creativity>. clog usually implies a slowing by something extraneous or encumbering <a court system clogged by frivolous suits>. fetter suggests a restraining so severe that freedom to move or progress is almost lost <a nation fettered by an antiquated class system>. shackle and manacle are stronger than fetter and suggest total loss of freedom <a mind shackled by stubborn prejudice> <a people manacled by tyranny>.


Next Word in the Dictionary: trammel netPrevious Word in the Dictionary: tramlineAll Words Near: trammel
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears