Meaning of trammel in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtram(ə)l/

See synonyms for trammel

Translate trammel into Spanish


  • 1trammels literary Restrictions or impediments to freedom of action.

    ‘we will forge our own future, free from the trammels of materialism’
    • ‘The most notable characteristic of Archimedes' mathematical work is its freedom from the trammels of traditional Greek mathematics.’
    • ‘It was the culmination of the sustained effort of many small entrepreneurs who had carved out a unique niche for offering hospitality without the trammels of the organised industry.’
    • ‘Wannabe ‘Americans’ had come to the New World to escape the trammels of established churches and feudalism which disfigured early modern Europe.’
    • ‘He longs for the realisation of Shiva amidst the trammels of the illusory cosmos.’
    • ‘This new Germany was mostly free from the trammels of the postwar system, and the Federal Republic seemed, more than ever, Europe's leading power.’
    restraint, constraint, curb, check, impediment, obstacle, barrier, handicap, bar, block, hindrance, encumbrance, disadvantage, drawback, snag, stumbling block
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  • 2

    (also trammel net)
    A three-layered dragnet, 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.

    ‘Researchers lifted a trammel net full of large Asian carp from Swan Lake, a backwater lake of the Illinois River, in 2001.’
    • ‘With the aid of electrofishing gear and trammel nets, biologists collect sexually mature fish and haul them to Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery, Arizona, where they are spawned.’
    • ‘The well-equipped vessel was lost with a full suite of gear, including VHF, echo sounder, plotter, autopilot, gill and trammel nets and a complete toolset.’
    • ‘A short herring fishing took place with a few of the small ‘skiffs’ using trammel nets managed to catch the allocated quota.’
  • 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.

    ‘There are miter clamps, levels, plumb bobs, oil cans, planes, trammels, and so on.’
    • ‘As expected, Stanley tools were prominent but there was also a good selection of English tools as well as a nice assortment of planes, rules, trammels, saws, and levels by various makers.’
    • ‘Accessories for rules are presented in another chapter that describes attachments used with rules such as fences, protractors, gauges, trammels, and carrying cases.’


    Early 18th century so named because the motion of the beam is ‘restricted’ by the grooves.

    1. 3.1A beam compass.
  • 4US A hook in a fireplace for a kettle.

verbverb trammels, verb trammelling, verb trammelled; US verb trammeling, US verb trammeled

[with object]
  • Deprive of freedom of action.

    ‘we have no wish to be trammelled by convention’
    • ‘No Scottish Labour leader would dream of letting himself be trammelled by the kind of political constraints that hobbled Louis XIV.’
    • ‘The lack of evidence also trammelled the inquiry into the most serious allegations, those involving collusion between the British authorities and loyalist paramilitaries.’
    • ‘I think this is another paradigm of countries in transition, the bad roads left behind after being trammelled by the carts of history.’
    • ‘Both have trammeled their critics and opponents.’
    • ‘Making this case all the more pointed, even the right of a woman to criticize her own religion has been trammeled.’
    • ‘I don't think that's anything to do with a specific right of academic freedom which is the right to pursue your academic location without being trammelled by our particular academic fashions.’
    • ‘With no reception, and an intimidating atmosphere of intense concentration and industry, this is no place to walk into as a stranger trammelled by British reserve.’
    • ‘Without free expression, rights may be trammelled with no recourse in the court of public opinion.’
    • ‘So, wherever I'd been working, the prospect of untrammeled freedom to air my thoughts probably would have been attractive. At that magazine, though, I was rather trammeled.’
    • ‘On the other hand, neither is it at the other end of the spectrum in which rights were trammeled in blatant disregard for the Charter.’
    • ‘When I get home tonight, we are going to find us a nice unbroken field of snow… and trammel it.’
    • ‘Mental stereotyping trammels the majority along certain lines of thought where ‘Greens cost jobs’ and ‘economic growth is good’, and these catchphrases may well be wrong.’
    • ‘That horror in turn serves as symbol of the chains that trammel the spirit.’
    • ‘Why was it so important to these interests to trammel public higher education?’
    • ‘Such creative transgressions urge us to abandon the obsession with stylistic consistency and recognisability that trammels, for many viewers, the experience of looking at paintings.’
    restrict, restrain, constrain, hamper, confine, curb, check, hinder, handicap, obstruct, impede, interfere with, forestall, thwart, frustrate
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Late Middle English (in trammel (sense 2 of the noun)): from Old French tramail, from a medieval Latin variant of trimaculum, perhaps from Latin tri- ‘three’ + macula ‘mesh’.