\ ˈtī-ˌəp \

Definition of tie-up 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slowdown or stoppage of traffic, business, or operation (as by a mechanical breakdown)

2 : connection, association helpful financial tie-ups

3a : a cow stable also : a space for a single cow in a stable

b : a mooring place for a boat

tie up


Definition of tie up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to attach, fasten, or bind securely also : to wrap up and fasten

2a : to connect closely : join tie up the loose ends

b : to cause to be linked so as to depend on or relate to something

3a : to place or invest in such a manner as to make unavailable for other purposes their money was tied up in stocks

b : to restrain from normal movement, operation, or progress traffic was tied up for miles

4a : to keep busy was tied up in conference all day

b : to preempt the use of tied up the phone for an hour

intransitive verb

1 : dock the ferry ties up at the south slip

2 : to assume a definite relationship this ties up with what I told you before

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Examples of tie-up in a Sentence


an accident is tying up traffic at 5th and Broadway

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Sun report that West Ham wanted to get the Wilshere deal tied up on Friday, but 'a few minor issues' prevented them from confirming their fourth summer signing at that stage. SI.com, "Former Arsenal Midfielder Jack Wilshere Set to Join Premier League Rivals West Ham Next Week," 8 July 2018 Several burglars tied up a family after breaking into their west Houston home Tuesday morning, Metro Video reported. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Family tied up during home burglary in west Houston," 3 July 2018 Phineas Gage, who turned from jovial and kind to aggressive and rude after a metal rod shot through his head in 1848, showed us that our personalities are intimately tied up in the front regions of the brains. Helen Thomson, WSJ, "Strange Stories of Extraordinary Brains—and What We Can Learn From Them," 29 June 2018 Authorities were told the child was tied up after being heard crying, the document says. Brad Schmidt, OregonLive.com, "Oregon failed to identify day care owner's checkered past before new allegations," 6 June 2018 Officials said Ahmad tied up her three daughters – ages 7, 9, and 11 – sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Monday night. Fox News, "Woman who allegedly stabbed daughter in burning house, snatched other child, arrested after hunt," 16 May 2018 One example: Labor unions threatening to tie up construction projects with California Environmental Quality Act lawsuits unless developers agree to use unionized labor. Dan Walters, SFChronicle.com, "Genteel extortion cancels 3 California ballot measures," 3 July 2018 Regulators can deny or cancel licenses or tie up companies by launching tax, environmental or anti-monopoly investigations. Joe Macdonald, Anchorage Daily News, "China vows retaliation for latest US tariff threat," 11 July 2018 Regulators can deny or cancel licenses or tie up companies by launching tax, environmental or anti-monopoly investigations. NBC News, "China vows retaliation as U.S. ups trade war ante, threatens tariffs on $200 billion of goods," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tie-up.' 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-up


1851, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near tie-up

tie tack




tie up

tie up loose ends


Statistics for tie-up

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Time Traveler for tie-up

The first known use of tie-up was in 1530

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More Definitions for tie-up



English Language Learners Definition of tie-up

: a situation in which something (such as traffic) becomes very slow or stops because of a problem, accident, etc.

: a close connection between people or things

: an agreement to do business together

More from Merriam-Webster on tie-up

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tie-up

Comments on tie-up

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


to make amends

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