\ ˈtī-ˌəp How to pronounce tie-up (audio) \

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

tied up; tying up or tieing up; ties 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 Spur 527 exit to Smith Street in downtown Houston is closing so crews can make emergency repairs, work likely to tie up downtown traffic for months. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Spur 527 exit to Smith closing," 1 July 2019 But even then, patent experts suspected there were still some loose ends for the patent office to tie up. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "In possible blow to UC, patent office revisits conflict over CRISPR invention," 27 June 2019 Both inherited runners scored, as well as a run of Rogers’ own to tie up the game. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins rally in extras to beat Royals," 22 June 2019 Two batters later, Jack Blomgren hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Kerr to tie up the score at 4. Avi Sholkoff, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan falls to UCLA, 5-4, in 12 inn.; trip to College World Series decided today," 9 June 2019 With just a handful of episodes to go before the series finale of Jane the Virgin, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up. Jean Bentley, refinery29.com, "Jane The Virgin," 6 June 2019 The end is near for Fuller House, but the Netflix original series still has some loose ends to tie up before its fifth and final season airs. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Candace Cameron Bure Addressed Lori Loughlin’s Exit on ‘Fuller House’ for the First Time," 3 June 2019 Wallison Silva Araújo, a wiry 19-year-old, had long been suspected of carrying out a spate of violent robberies, including tying up an elderly lady and leaving her to die at the bottom of a well. Samantha Pearson, WSJ, "In Latin America, Awash in Crime, Citizens Impose Their Own Brutal Justice," 6 Dec. 2018 Ruth Correa told investigators the plan included tying up Matthew and blaming the theft of the guns on two black men. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Records Reveal Brutal Details, Motive In Slaying Of Griswold Couple, Son," 29 May 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

chiefly US : 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tie-up

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 complain fretfully

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