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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tie


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for tie

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Harden responded with a basket of his own to tie it again at 113 with 38.9 seconds left. Erik Garcia Gundersen, Chron, "CJ McCollum leads Trail Blazers past Rockets in overtime," 27 Dec. 2020 Nance hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds left before halftime to tie it 34-34. Sarah Trotto, chicagotribune.com, "Northwestern holds off Ohio State for a 71-70 win, the Wildcats’ 2nd upset of a top 25 team this week," 26 Dec. 2020 If a hole rips out, just cut another hole to use and don’t tie it as tightly next time. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate Guide to Tanning Wild Game Pelts and Hides," 24 Dec. 2020 Officials Monday explained that the complaint is largely based on a confession Masud had made to Libyan authorities in 2012, as well as his travel records, which tie him to the crime. Clare Hymes, CBS News, "Barr announces new charges 32 years after Lockerbie bombing," 21 Dec. 2020 Florid answered right back to tie it with a 51-yard touchdown pass. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Najee Harris breaks Alabama career record in SEC title game," 20 Dec. 2020 Josh Jacobs dove head first over the pile and into the end zone to tie it. W.g. Ramirez, orlandosentinel.com, "Raiders lose QB Carr, fall in overtime to Chargers and Herbert," 18 Dec. 2020 Josh Jacobs dove head first over the pile and into the end zone to tie it. oregonlive, "Justin Herbert scores game-winning touchdown in OT as LA Chargers rally past the Las Vegas Raiders: Recap, score, stats and more," 18 Dec. 2020 Matt Wayman scored inside to give Fayetteville a 70-68 lead to open the extra period, but Josh Stewart hit a pair of free throws tie it back up. Graham Thomas, Arkansas Online, "Williams gives Fayetteville best shots," 17 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In fashion, 2020 has been titled the year of Nap dresses, tie-dye, and sweatsuits. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "From Gwen Stefani To Lily Collins: The Best Celebrity Engagement Rings Of 2020," 25 Dec. 2020 While my tie-dye sweatsuit will likely stay at home, these nine versatile pieces have officially transcended the loungewear category, proving themselves more than worthy for a day in the office. Grace Stearns, Vogue, "8 Loungewear Pieces That Are Made for More Than Lounging," 24 Dec. 2020 The fun tie-dye pattern on the back adds a trendy touch. Ellen Mcalpine, CNN Underscored, "The best iPhone accessories to give this holiday," 15 Dec. 2020 Clothing comes in a variety of patterns like tie dye, stars, stripes, and more. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "New and Notable: Latest from Jupiter, Philips, Rails and more," 14 Dec. 2020 Based on its visual appeal, tie-dye, which has popped up in abundance this year, offers a sunny sartorial alternative. Max Berlinger, Los Angeles Times, "In an endlessly depressing year, tie-dye gave us a reason to smile," 11 Dec. 2020 Stock up on tie-dye sweatsuits, cashmere loungewear, ribbed tank tops, and more athleisure from Bandier’s sitewide sale. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "55 Best Cyber Monday Deals 2020 You Can Still Shop Right Now," 1 Dec. 2020 Be sure to snag this tie-dye hoodie sweatshirt and matching joggers for just $53.80 each, these fluffy criss-cross slippers on sale for only $24, and this flannel shirtdress for only $65. Kami Phillips, PEOPLE.com, "Madewell Put Practically Everything on Sale for Cyber Monday — Up to 50% Off," 30 Nov. 2020 Plenty of Bloomingdale's stylish designer face masks are on sale right now, from tie-dye prints to silk face coverings from slip, makers of our favorite silk pillowcase. Kristin Granero, SELF, "The Best Cyber Monday Deals on Cloth Face Masks," 30 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tie

Time Traveler for tie

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tie

Last Updated

31 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tie. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tie

Nglish: Translation of tie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tie for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tie

What made you want to look up tie? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!