One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Having the feet or hands fettered.
tied, tied up, roped, tethered, chained, fettered, shackled, hobbled, securedView synonyms
- ‘Four marines emerged on deck with a swarthy looking, squint-eyed pirate, his arms and legs in irons.’
- ‘Guards waited there with a man in irons, all standing to one side.’
- ‘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 had the British sailors, including one Irishmen, whipped and put them in irons for several days.’
- ‘Ned took off their gunbelts and secured them in irons.’
- ‘However the Pandora captain quickly slapped them in irons.’
- ‘They caught us trying to get back on the ship like nothing had happened, and we wound up in irons.’
- ‘He, therefore, decreed that the stranger be brought before him shackled in irons.’
- ‘Back talk again, and you will be clamped in irons and thrown in the brig until we get to the next port.’
- ‘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.’
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.’
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