Definition of manacle in English:



  • One of two metal bands joined by a chain, for fastening a person's hands or ankles.

    ‘the practice of keeping prisoners in manacles’
    • ‘As I watched him, he groaned and tried to raise his hands to his face; the chain from his wrist to his ankle manacles stopped him.’
    • ‘He hardly noticed the manacles because there across from him, only separated by a bit of glass, was his father's familiar face.’
    • ‘He'd worry about the manacles when they got closer to the fortress.’
    • ‘She was chained to the wall, her wrists and ankles shackled by iron manacles.’
    • ‘In one hand he held the large ring of keys for the dungeons, and in the other a set of manacles and some chains.’
    • ‘I'd have him in manacles, suspended and pressed to the wall.’
    • ‘On my wrists the manacles were joined by a solid iron bar just long enough that I couldn't touch my fingertips together.’
    • ‘During the train journey there, his train was bombed: a young woman in manacles crawled down the corridor to bring him water.’
    • ‘The stranger was held in a stone cell, with manacles on his wrists.’
    • ‘In November 1943 she was sent to Germany in manacles.’
    • ‘Geoffrey Bellanger appeared next, holding matching pairs of manacles.’
    • ‘Massive manacles made of dull metal bound its wrists and ankles to the wall.’
    • ‘The man in black attached manacles to the prisoner's hands, and then pulled him to his feet.’
    • ‘Discipline was maintained by a free application of whips, fetters, stocks, manacles, chains and the kongo, an iron collar with a long beam.’
    • ‘The metal manacles binding his wrists together over his head felt as if they'd been refrigerated before being locked in place.’
    • ‘In one a pair of manacles is prominently displayed.’
    • ‘He was suspended in mid-air, chained at the wrists by a pair of steel manacles.’
    • ‘I watched them as they placed manacles around his wrists, and he did not struggle; he merely looked into my eyes with his own melancholy ones.’
    • ‘British psychiatrists viewed manacles and leg irons as barbaric symbols of the asylum's dubious past.’
    • ‘A pair of manacles hung from the wall to their right.’
    handcuffs, shackles, chains, irons, fetters, restraints, bonds
    cuffs, bracelets
    darbies, gyves
    View synonyms


  • Confine (a person or part of the body) with manacles.

    ‘his hands were manacled behind his back’
    • ‘I had been trying to loose Lynn in the crowd for over an hour now, but it seemed as if some cruel joker had manacled her to me.’
    • ‘David said he was hooded and manacled, and I said to him, ‘Well who were they?’’
    • ‘He shows off for friends by sneaking out the key and getting himself out of handcuffs, even when he's manacled behind the back.’
    • ‘Her arms are cuffed behind her back, her legs manacled together, and both are connected with another chain.’
    • ‘Haley snarled at them, manacled to the bars on the window.’
    • ‘The prisoner flapped his manacled wrists, as if he were shooing pigeons away; his chains rattled musically.’
    • ‘I sensed that if his hands were manacled, it would destroy the fluency of his speech.’
    • ‘His eyes and ears are covered, his wrists and ankles manacled.’
    • ‘His ankles, as well, were tightly bound, although not manacled like his wrists.’
    • ‘Two days after his arrest he appeared at a Los Angeles federal court to face charges, manacled and dressed in orange prison uniforms.’
    • ‘Keys in one hand, he reached for her manacled hands.’
    • ‘He was sleeping despite having his wrists manacled to the railing on the side of the bed.’
    • ‘They are hooded throughout their journey, with arms and legs manacled to the seats of the plane.’
    • ‘He was followed out of the cell by eight men, chained together and manacled at the wrists and ankles.’
    • ‘He was manacled, blindfolded, held on his knees for hours, beaten, and taken to the infamous Salem prison where he stayed for eleven days without charge or defence.’
    • ‘Their faces are hidden, they are wearing tall hats and are manacled and humiliated.’
    • ‘After 15 days several of the prisoners were blindfolded, manacled, and asked to walk holding the person in front.’
    • ‘She's manacled to the wall and her limbs, all painfully thin, tremble with weakness.’
    • ‘He ignored warnings from friends and agreed to be chained and manacled in a room in his home.’
    • ‘When Davies was subdued he was manacled hand and foot.’
    shackle, fetter, chain, chain up, put in chains, clap in irons, put in irons, handcuff, restrain
    tie, secure
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French manicle handcuff, from Latin manicula, diminutive of manus hand.