Definition of tether in English:



  • 1Tie (an animal) with a rope or chain so as to restrict its movement.

    ‘the horse had been tethered to a post’
    • ‘He still makes traditional cow bands, used by farmers for tethering cattle and other farm jobs, out of Egyptian flax on an old-fashioned rope-making sled and top.’
    • ‘Tess had been tethering her horse when she heard shouting over the hill, a car door being slammed, and finally the crunch of wheels on gravel as a car reversed and sped away.’
    • ‘Elephants are tethered by chains so people can climb on them for a cute photo for a fee of 10 yuan.’
    • ‘They tethered their horses, leaving the most junior patrolman to stand guard, and Inkerman led the way in.’
    • ‘Mrs Cruddas said one simple solution in Hull Road would be for the grass to be regularly cut - thereby removing any incentive to tether the horses there.’
    • ‘Rings for tethering the sheep are still embedded in the wall of Borris Estate, opposite Cosgrove's shop.’
    • ‘With their enormous size, some whales could not be loaded onto the ships and were instead tethered to the ships and towed.’
    • ‘He agilely jumped off and tethered his horse to a bar that had seemingly been placed there for that specific purpose.’
    • ‘The water wasn't too cold, so they took off their riding boots and rolled up their riding pants, then waded for a while in the cool water, tethering the mares to a nearby tree.’
    • ‘Cows were tethered near the wall, to provide milk, ghee and cow dung for the rituals.’
    • ‘Caravans and vans were parked in front of the new offices at the far end of the industrial estate, and four horses were tethered there.’
    • ‘The trees in question were certainly a fine stand of eucalypts, over by the Ivanhoe road, and I knew Laura liked to go riding in that direction, to tether her horse and wander amongst the silvery patterned trunks.’
    • ‘A docile Labrador dog was tethered five metres away from its owner, who was disguised as a tradesman.’
    • ‘Kara hitched up the trap and Anana tethered her horse to the rear of it and joined her friend.’
    • ‘The building they stayed in had already been looted bare, with straw lining the floor for newcomers to sleep on, and the wooden pillar at the base of the broken stairs used to tether horses.’
    • ‘He followed her calmly towards the stakes where the other horses were tethered and being watched.’
    • ‘Two men were sleeping there, one on either side of the fire, and one horse was tethered on a lead rope.’
    • ‘Firefighters were bemused to wake up and find a large brown and white horse tethered by a rope to their station.’
    • ‘Lancaster drew rein, tethering his horse in the thicket of pine just off the crest of the hill.’
    • ‘Mala groaned, picked up her bedroll, and moved to where their horses were tethered.’
    tie, tie up, hitch, rope, chain
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  • 2usually as noun tetheringUse (a smartphone) in order to connect a computer or other device to the Internet.

    ‘one prediction is that tethering will cost around $30 per month, probably with some cap on the amount of data transfer allowed’
    • ‘Tethering is a feature that lets your mobile phone share its wireless data connection with your computer.’
    • ‘Would-be users reacted with annoyance and frustration, querying the need for extra charges for tethering, and the high prices of the phones.’
    • ‘While his wireless service is critical to his work, Ferrer said he would not want the monthly total cost to rise to $500 or more, and urged the carriers to start offering discounts, such as dropping a $30 monthly charge for tethering a cell phone to a laptop.’
    • ‘As an added bonus, you'll be picking up a charge while you're tethered to your computer.’
    • ‘For tethering, we need to do some additional fine-tuning to our systems and networks so that we do deliver a great experience.’
    • ‘They still haven't even allowed tethering which was supposed to have been released 2 years ago!’
    • ‘Tethering will thus not be enabled until AT & T upgrades its service.’
    • ‘I would spend $20/month for tethering if I could pick and choose which months I wanted.’


  • A rope or chain with which an animal is tied to restrict its movement.

    ‘regulations banning neck and girth tethers for sows’
    • ‘In contrast to moving from outdoors to neck tethers, moving from outdoors to indoor gestation pens or stalls did not inhibit litter size.’
    • ‘The use of specialized animal stalls and tethers is accepted as a science-based industry standard of management.’
    • ‘Producers have used two types of tethers (neck and girth); both of which restrict sow movement.’
    • ‘In the rest of Europe - with the exception of Sweden, which has banned them - tethers and sow stalls can be used until 2006 and 2013 respectively.’
    • ‘He paused to dismount as well, tossing a thin tether to a man who took the animal away.’
    • ‘Legislation banning the use of stalls and tethers in pig farming came into force in 1999.’
    • ‘Gregory turned from his parents' grave and walked back through and out of the barren house to his horse, the animal waiting patiently on its tether and barely visible against the forest shadows.’
    • ‘With sows kept in tethers in a stall, their movement is restricted with a belt around their torsos just behind the front legs or around the neck.’
    • ‘Vieuille-Thomas et al. observed sows housed in tethers, stalls, and groups for the occurrence of stereotypic behaviors.’
    • ‘It appears that the physiological data from a number of studies indicate the welfare of sows in stalls is equal to, or better than, that of sows in tethers or groups.’
    • ‘The animals fed and lay down next to their tethers.’
    • ‘Selected European countries and the European Union have banned or are phasing out use of stalls and tethers for gestating sows.’
    • ‘Stalls and tethers are systems of individual housing of sows that do not allow turning around; these systems allow only minimal social interactions among neighbors.’
    • ‘On closer inspection, he found a friction wound, blackened with scabs, on the back of Patch's neck and a chain tether, with a blue nylon rope, nearby.’
    • ‘In the rest of the world, for example, sow stalls and tethers, banned here, are still widely used.’
    • ‘With bridle and saddle managed in one hand, Isabella released the gelding from his tether and stepped back, heading towards the tack room without waiting to confirm he returned to his stall.’
    • ‘If enacted, the law might eliminate tethers and stalls for other classes of cattle.’
    rope, chain, cord, lead, leash
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  • the end of one's tether

    • see end
      at one's wits' end, desperate, not knowing which way to turn, unable to cope
      View synonyms
    • Having no patience or energy left to cope with something.

      ‘I don't know what to do. I'm at the end of my tether’
      ‘these individuals have reached the end of their tether’
      • ‘There's no need to wait until you are at the end of your tether before you come here.’
      • ‘But, when it's an individual who is obviously very distressed and at the end of their tether and upset, you feel heart-sorry for them.’
      • ‘The ad, which speaks to a patient at the end of his rope, states, ‘If you have advanced HIV, your options are limited.’’
      • ‘Gardeners are near the end of their tether because of youngsters rampaging through their allotment, leaving a trail of devastation behind them.’
      • ‘Neighbours are also at the end of their tether with the trouble.’
      • ‘He said children had repeatedly kicked a football at his gable end wall for two years and that the thudding had brought him and his wife, Sue, to the end of their tether.’
      • ‘She said she can't cope with it anymore as she's at the end of her tether.’
      • ‘We have some members of the group who have reached the end of their tether and feel they can't go on.’
      • ‘‘It's at crisis point, teachers are at the end of their tether,’ he said.’
      • ‘Residents are at the end of their tether with regard to youth crime in the area.’
      • ‘I am at the end of my tether and I feel that I can no longer cope with the behaviour of the defendant and her family.’
      • ‘A lot of residents are at the end of their tether and I don't think he realises exactly what he has done.’


Late Middle English: from Old Norse tjóthr, from a Germanic base meaning ‘fasten’.