\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

With her latest victory, Serena moved to tie Steffi Graf in second place for the open-era Grand Slam titles record with 22. Julia Poe, SI.com, "A History of Serena Williams' Seven Wimbledon Titles," 12 July 2018 To partake in the tie-dying, bring $10 for a T-shirt at the event or pack two of your own items to tie-dye for a flat rate of $5. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Taylor Swift, 'Star Wars' with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and other great events in Philadelphia, July 13-20," 12 July 2018 The Brewers had a prime opportunity to tie the score in the fifth when Saladino drew a leadoff walk and raced to third on a single by Erik Kratz. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pirates 6, Brewers 3: A long stretch of games and an early-morning arrival lead to a rough loss," 12 July 2018 Much of Ireland's sympathies for the Palestinians appear to tie back into their own troubled history with the United Kingdom. Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Ireland goes ahead with legislation to boycott products made in Israeli settlements," 12 July 2018 Getting her husband to tie a decent top knot, according to her Instagram story. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Kaley Cuoco Will Finally Get The Honeymoon She Deserves," 12 July 2018 The couple, who were set to tie the knot in an outdoor ceremony on the beach in Pascagoula, Mississippi, were hopeful for sun. Meghan Overdeep, ajc, "Mississippi couple hosts wedding in their home after strangers’ beach ceremony was rained out," 12 July 2018 The couple, who were set to tie the knot in an outdoor ceremony on the beach in Pascagoula, Mississippi, were hopeful for sun. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Mississippi Couple Hosts Wedding In Their Home After Strangers’ Beach Ceremony Was Rained Out," 11 July 2018 None of this is the show’s fault, of course, nor is the frequently clumsy marketing surrounding products meant to tie into it. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 was masterful. But it may have broken the show.," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Trump told The Sun that a trade deal with the U.S. would likely not happen if May's plan to keep close trade ties with the EU goes ahead. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump's bombshell interview with UK tabloid threatens to overshadow visit to Britain," 13 July 2018 The trip is part of the South Korean government’s New Southern Policy, which aims to strengthen ties with countries in Southeast Asia and other nations like India. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "South Korea’s Moon says world will judge if North Korea-U. S. talks fail," 13 July 2018 The incident prompted Papa John's marketing firm to break ties with the company, Forbes said. Candice Choi, chicagotribune.com, "Papa John is gone, but his image is still entwined with pizza chain," 12 July 2018 The latest to cut ties with the popular pizza delivery chain: the Miami Marlins. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "What do the Miami Marlins think of Papa John’s founder’s apology? You’re out!," 12 July 2018 Duterte, who has nurtured close ties with China after rising to power in 2016, has not sought immediate Chinese compliance to the landmark ruling but has vowed to discuss the decision with Beijing at some point in his six-year presidency. Fox News, "Duterte pressed to assert 2016 arbitration victory vs China," 12 July 2018 YouTube subsequently dropped him from the upcoming YouTube Red series Foursome and Google Preferred, a branding liason program, severed ties with the YouTuber. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Chloe Bennet Explains Why She's Dating Controversial YouTuber Logan Paul," 12 July 2018 Under mounting political pressure, other jurisdictions have severed ties with ICE for immigrant detention. Andrea Castillo, latimes.com, "Contra Costa County cuts ties with ICE, ending contract for jailing immigrant detainees," 12 July 2018 But Wilson then rapped a full-count pitch from Castro down the left-field line, breaking the tie with a two-run double. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "After early outburst, Orioles offense sputters in 5-4 loss to Twins; team is 40 games under .500," 7 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

9 Oct 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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