Definition of in irons in US English:

in irons

phrase

  • 1Having the feet or hands fettered.

    • ‘He had the British sailors, including one Irishmen, whipped and put them in irons for several days.’
    • ‘Guards waited there with a man in irons, all standing to one side.’
    • ‘By now, Williams must know how exactly Joseph K felt; the world has suddenly turned hostile and indifferent and there are many who would like to see the Australian sent back to Botany Bay in irons.’
    • ‘Ned took off their gunbelts and secured them in irons.’
    • ‘They caught us trying to get back on the ship like nothing had happened, and we wound up in irons.’
    • ‘By the time the pirate crew was clamped in irons and stowed in the forecastle of Indefatigable, the sun was well on its way to the next hemisphere.’
    • ‘He, therefore, decreed that the stranger be brought before him shackled in irons.’
    • ‘However the Pandora captain quickly slapped them in irons.’
    • ‘Four marines emerged on deck with a swarthy looking, squint-eyed pirate, his arms and legs in irons.’
    • ‘Back talk again, and you will be clamped in irons and thrown in the brig until we get to the next port.’
    tied, tied up, roped, tethered, chained, fettered, shackled, hobbled, secured
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  • 2(of a sailing vessel) stalled head to wind and unable to come about or tack either way.

    • ‘But as it has such high windage on the hull alone, that if you try putting her in irons [head to wind], she'll start moving backwards quite fast.’