\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

Three of the bills (House bills 287, 273 and 338) are amended versions of three similar proposals that have been tied up in a federal court battle since they were first approved during the 2016 legislative session. Maria Clark, NOLA.com, "4 anti-abortion bills approved by Louisiana House committee," 4 Apr. 2018 One final loose end does, however, need tying up: a previously unreported error in one indicator. The Economist, "The World Bank’s “ease of doing business” report faces tricky questions," 18 Jan. 2018 Many were dressed puffy coats tied up with belts and in pretty pastel or cool-toned colors, except for the occasional pop of orange. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Ankle iPhone Holsters Appear at Couture Fashion Week," 4 July 2018 Neighbors said the gator was seen roaming in the area for a while before Florida Fish and Wildlife trappers came to tie up the reptile, the report shows. The Web Staff, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Alligator knocks out captor, whacks officers in Ocoee: report," 6 June 2018 Golden State had solid chances to force overtime (Klay Thompson missed a terrible shot that would’ve tied it with seconds left and Steph Curry missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer), but Houston held on to tie up the series. Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "Chris Paul had heartfelt message for fans after Game 4 win: 'Houston, we're coming home'," 23 May 2018 But the waiver that was due for renewal May 12 — the one that created the deadline prompting Trump’s action — is tied up in the Iran deal. NBC News, "Trump intends to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal, sources say," 8 May 2018 To Ellison, the question of health care is intricately tied up with the question of concentrated economic power in the hands of a few elites. Sarah Jaffe, The New Republic, "A Party Within the Democratic Party," 14 Mar. 2018 Investment is increasingly tied up in intangibles, such as patents and copyright, rather than physical assets, such as steel mills. The Economist, "The threat to world tradeThe rules-based system is in grave danger," 8 Mar. 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 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).


a private place of worship

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