\ˈtī \
tied; tying\ˈtī-​iŋ \ 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

a : necktie

b : a low laced shoe : oxford

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Other Words from tie


tieless \ˈtī-​ləs \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tie

Synonyms: Verb

band, bind, truss

Synonyms: Noun

bond, cement, cord, knot, ligature, link

Antonyms: Verb

unbind, untie

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Examples of tie in a Sentence


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.


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

The first movie took creative liberties and tied everything up in a neat bow, presumably in case a second one wasn't in the cards. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Everything We Know About the To All the Boys I've Loved Before Sequel," 27 Nov. 2018 The biggest difference is an apparent storytelling wrapper starring none other than Fred Savage—who has been tied down by Deadpool and trapped in a Princess Bride-style bedroom. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "That PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 you’ve been asking for is coming—with Fred Savage," 19 Nov. 2018 Stormi dressed in a pink silk onesie and had her hair tied into a tiny bun with a butterfly clipped in, and a pair of mini wings to match her mama. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner and Stormi Webster Twinned as Pink Butterflies for Halloween," 30 Oct. 2018 The charred remnants of the brand’s dual wooden handles have been wrapped in a few layers of towel and tied fast with string. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Kimbal Musk Is Reinventing Food One Shipping Container at a Time," 24 Oct. 2018 Remove turkey from the plastic bag and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Woman's Day Test Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Dry-Brined Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Turkey," 24 Oct. 2018 Go one step further (literally) and tie your entire outfit together with Minnie's bright yellow shoes. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "3 Easy Ways Mother-Daughter Duos Can DIY Their Minnie Mouse Halloween Costumes," 23 Oct. 2018 Aside from the silk suit and gold chains that tie the whole ensemble together, Appleton bumps up the braid even more by sitting it all the way atop Lopez's head and fastening it in place with a black scrunchie. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Jennifer Lopez Shows Off Her "Bronx Barbie" Look and Baby Hair on Instagram," 8 Oct. 2018 Place spoon handle in center of ribbon and tie a bow around the spoon's handle to attach it to the jar. Sarah Newell, Seventeen, "11 Ridiculously Awesome DIY Gifts for Your BFFs," 12 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But there remains a possibility that no deal is struck and the U.K.’s financial and trading ties with the EU would be abruptly severed on the March 29 deadline. Avantika Chilkoti, WSJ, "Looking for Brexit Guidance? Investors Pass Over Bank of England’s Carney," 30 Nov. 2018 Gigi’s first outfit was a patchwork plaid robe, totally open at the front and boasting only a single sleeve and waist tie. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Gigi Hadid’s Huge Parachute Wings Almost Took Shawn Mendes Out on the Victoria’s Secret Runway," 9 Nov. 2018 Back in April, a Motherboard investigation revealed GreyShift contracts with State Police forces in Maryland and Indiana, and additional ties to the State Department and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Apple Just Made Its Phones Impossible For Police to Hack," 25 Oct. 2018 Putnam, a former congressman, has run a more traditional campaign for governor, barnstorming the state with campaign events aimed at building upon his family's deep ties to the state. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump calls for voter ID, teases Iran talks at Florida rally boosting DeSantis, Scott," 2 Oct. 2018 Masel’s ties are exquisitely handcrafted in Como, Italy. Nicole Berrie, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Gorgeous European Souvenirs Are Made Just For You," 28 Sep. 2018 The volunteer leader lays out the schedule for the day and reads the organization's signature book, The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, which describes the ties that bind people even when they're separated. Erin Quinn-kong, Woman's Day, "This Texas Organization Uses Books to Reconnect Female Prison Inmates With Their Children," 23 Aug. 2018 Cut enough off-white broadcloth to fold down into two tiers and wrap around waist and tie. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "How to Make a Moana Costume for Halloween," 1 Aug. 2018 May is proposing to maintain certain trade and economic ties that Trump thinks should be severed. Calvin Woodward And Hope Yen, chicagotribune.com, "Trump is in Europe and the truth is not with him: A fact check," 14 July 2018

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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Statistics for tie

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tie

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

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More Definitions for tie



English Language Learners Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 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



English Language Learners Definition of tie (Entry 2 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


\ˈtī \

Kids Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : necktie

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

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


to enclose within walls

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