\ ˈtī How to pronounce tie (audio) \
tied; tying\ ˈtī-​iŋ How to pronounce tying (audio) \ or tieing

Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to fasten, attach, or close by means of a tie
b : to form a knot or bow in tie your scarf
c : to make by tying constituent elements tied a wreath tie a fishing fly
2a : to place or establish in relationship : connect
b : to unite in marriage
c : to unite (musical notes) by a tie
d : to join (power systems) electrically
3 : to restrain from independence or freedom of action or choice : constrain by or as if by authority, influence, agreement, or obligation
4a(1) : to make or have an equal score with in a contest
(2) : to equalize (the score) in a game or contest
(3) : to equalize the score of (a game)
b : to provide or offer something equal to : equal

intransitive verb

: to make a tie: such as
a : to make a bond or connection
b : to make an equal score
c : to become attached
d : to close by means of a tie
tie into
: to attack with vigor
tie one on
: to get drunk
tie the knot
: to perform a marriage ceremony also : to get married



Definition of tie (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a line, ribbon, or cord used for fastening, uniting, or drawing something closed especially : shoelace
b(1) : a structural element (such as a rod or angle iron) holding two pieces together : a tension member in a construction
(2) : any of the transverse supports to which railroad rails are fastened to keep them in line
2 : something that serves as a connecting link: such as
a : a moral or legal obligation to someone or something typically constituting a restraining power, influence, or duty
b : a bond of kinship or affection
3 : a curved line that joins two musical notes of the same pitch to denote a single tone sustained through the time value of the two
4a : an equality in number (as of votes or scores)
b : equality in a contest also : a contest that ends in a draw
5 : a method or style of tying or knotting
6 : something that is knotted or is to be knotted when worn: such as
b : a low laced shoe : oxford

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Other Words from tie


tieless \ ˈtī-​ləs How to pronounce tieless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tie

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of tie in a Sentence

Verb His kidnappers tied him to a chair. She tied a scarf around her neck. She tied knots in the rope. You need to tie your shoe. His hands and feet had been tied together. She tied the apron loosely around her waist. The team still has a chance to tie. I had the lead but he tied me by making a birdie on the last hole. Her time tied the world record. He tied the school's record in the high jump. Noun He was wearing a suit and tie. You have a spot on your tie. The pants have a tie at the top. He was not ready to accept the ties of family life.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Game notes: The two teams are tied for sixth in the NBA draft lottery standings, but the franchises are going in opposite directions: The Pelicans are 7-3 over their past 10 games; the Pistons are 3-7. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Time, TV, game info," 13 Jan. 2020 Hinch’s suspension is tied for second-longest in MLB history for a manager. Katie Mcinerney, BostonGlobe.com, "Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch suspended one year; investigation finds cheating during 2017 World Series season," 13 Jan. 2020 His 81 total pressures were tied for the fourth most in the NFL this season. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "All-AFC North Team: Defensive line/edge rushers," 13 Jan. 2020 The Islanders are tied for the NHL lead with 15 wins by one goal. Skip Snow, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "New York Islanders at New York Rangers odds, picks and best bets," 13 Jan. 2020 The Beavers and Wildcats were tied 31-31 at halftime and 49-49 eight minutes into the second half. oregonlive, "Oregon State Beavers pull away to beat No. 24 Arizona in men’s basketball: Live updates recap," 12 Jan. 2020 He is tied with Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg for first place in New Hampshire. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "'You’re going to lose': Bernie Sanders warns Trump after president cheers his recent rise in polls," 12 Jan. 2020 The game was tied 15-15 early in the fourth quarter. Steve Kroner, SFChronicle.com, "Packers-49ers playoff history," 12 Jan. 2020 The game was tied 1-1 after one period, but the Seawolves never scored again. Anchorage Daily News, "3rd-period goals help Northern Michigan pull away from UAA hockey team," 11 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Campanile, who grew up in New Jersey, has made an impact on the recruiting trail with his ties there. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football assistant Anthony Campanile reportedly staying in Ann Arbor," 14 Jan. 2020 There are many questions surrounding Bob Lazar and his ties with Area 51, but one thing is certain. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, "The Storming of Area 51: A Covert Journey to the Heart of America’s Worst-Kept Secret," 13 Jan. 2020 Staffers say their ties with the community are essential. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "New England pizzeria Flatbread Company picks Lower Greenville for first Texas restaurant," 10 Jan. 2020 Finneas and Eilish co-wrote both songs, sparking their tie at No. 4 on the Hot 100 Songwriters tally. Xander Zellner, Billboard, "Finneas Returns to No. 1 on Hot 100 Producers Chart for Seventh Week on Top," 8 Jan. 2020 In 1982, his collegial ties to American scientists working in the nascent field of computer networks led him to adopt their standards in his own London research lab. Katie Hafner, New York Times, "Peter Kirstein, Father of the European Internet, Is Dead at 86," 8 Jan. 2020 In scholarly articles, blogs and conferences, these professors used their prestige to help pharmaceutical companies justify high drug prices, without always disclosing their corporate ties. Annie Waldman, ProPublica, "Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Professors’ Conflicts of Interest," 7 Jan. 2020 Now that his comeback is in full swing, many have picked up on the tattoo and its possible ties to an album title. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber’s Latest Tattoo Might Be a Hint of His New Album Title," 3 Jan. 2020 Iraq has long struggled to balance its ties with the U.S. and Iran, both allies of the Iraqi government. Author: Qassim Abdul-zahra, Anchorage Daily News, "Iraqi militiamen and supporters breach US embassy in Baghdad after airstrikes," 1 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tie


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tie


Middle English teg, tye, from Old English tēag; akin to Old Norse taug rope, Old English tēon to pull — more at tow entry 1

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Time Traveler for tie

Time Traveler

The first known use of tie was before the 12th century

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Statistics for tie

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tie. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tie


How to pronounce tie (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to attach (someone or something) to something with a string, rope, etc.
: to pass (something, such as a string, ribbon, or rope) around itself in a way that attaches it to something or holds it in place : to make a knot or bow in (something)
: to close or hold (something) with a string, rope, etc., that is attached to it or wrapped around it



English Language Learners Definition of tie (Entry 2 of 2)

: a piece of string, ribbon, cord, etc., that is used for fastening, joining, or closing something
: something (such as an idea, interest, experience, or feeling) that is shared by people or groups and that forms a connection between them
: a responsibility that limits a person's freedom to do other things


\ ˈtī How to pronounce tie (audio) \

Kids Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : an equality in number (as of votes or scores) The game ended in a tie.
3 : a contest that ends with an equal score They finished the season with six wins and two ties.
4 : one of the cross supports to which railroad rails are fastened
5 : a connecting link : bond family ties
6 : a line, ribbon, or cord used for fastening, joining, or closing
7 : a part (as a beam or rod) holding two pieces together


tied; tying\ ˈtī-​iŋ \ or tieing

Kids Definition of tie (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fasten, attach, or close by means of a tie
2 : to form a knot or bow in
3 : to bring together firmly : unite They are tied by marriage.
4 : to hold back from freedom of action Obligations tied her down.
5 : to make or have an equal score with in a contest

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More from Merriam-Webster on tie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tie

Spanish Central: Translation of tie

Nglish: Translation of tie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tie for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tie

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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