Possibly an adaptation of Middle English handcops (“shackles for the hand, handcuffs”), from Old English handcops, from hand + cops, cosp (“fetter, chains”), but due to lack of continuity (centuries between Old English and modern term), generally analyzed as a re-invention.
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handcuff (plural handcuffs)
- One ring of a locking fetter for the hand or one pair.
- To apply handcuffs to
- (Can we find and add a quotation of William Hay to this entry?)
- (figuratively) to restrain or restrict.
- Dang, I’m handcuffed by these regulations. I’d like to help but it’d be illegal.
- (apply handcuffs to): manacle
- “handcuff” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).