tram·mel / ˈtraməl/ • n. 1. (usu. trammels) poetic/lit. a restriction or impediment to someone's freedom of action: we will forge our own future, free from the trammels of materialism.2. (also tram·mel net) a set-net consisting of three layers of netting, designed so that a fish entering through one of the large-meshed outer sections will push part of the finer-meshed central section through the large meshes on the further side, forming a pocket in which the fish is trapped.3. an instrument consisting of a board with two grooves intersecting at right angles, in which the two ends of a beam compass can slide to draw an ellipse. ∎ a beam compass.4. a hook in a fireplace for a kettle.• v. (-meled, -mel·ing; Brit. -melled, -mel·ling) [tr.] deprive of freedom of action: those less trammeled by convention than himself.