a. A rope, chain, strap, or cord for keeping an animal within a certain radius.
b. A similar ropelike restraint used as a safety measure, as for a young child or an astronaut outside a spacecraft.
c. A rope, chain, cable, or other line for restraining or securing an object: a blimp attached to the ground by tethers.
2. The extent or limit of one's resources, abilities, or endurance: drought-stricken farmers at the end of their tether.
3. A range of allowable behavior or responsibility: kept the new assistant on a short tether.
tr.v. teth·ered, teth·er·ing, teth·ers
To restrain or secure with a tether.
[Middle English teder, from Old Norse tjōdhr.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.