\ 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

After the migrants refuse to work for the cartel, they are blindfolded, tied up on the floor and shot dead. Washington Post, "Mexico violence: Alarming parallels to previous brutalities," 30 Aug. 2019 Last week protesters who shut down the airport over two days also tied up and beat two men, one of whom later turned out to be a Global Times reporter. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "China’s propaganda machine is spending over $1 million to buy influence on foreign social media," 21 Aug. 2019 To make a bot that took on the videogame Dota 2 last year, OpenAI tied up hundreds of GPUs for weeks. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "To Power AI, This Startup Built a Really, Really Big Chip," 19 Aug. 2019 That could save money, but will tie up capital and will crowd distribution warehouses with products. New York Times, "‘It’s Just a Nightmare.’ Despite Tariff Delay, Toy Makers Are Worried.," 15 Aug. 2019 That could save money, but will tie up capital and will crowd distribution warehouses with products. Ana Swanson, BostonGlobe.com, "‘It’s just a nightmare.’ Despite tariff delay, toy makers are worried.," 15 Aug. 2019 Philadelphia remains on top with 18 away points and New York City FC and D.C. United are tied up in second with 16 apiece. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 draw against Toronto FC," 12 Aug. 2019 With this in mind, the company tied up with multiple entities involved in procuring a ready-to-drive e-rickshaw. Kartik Chandramouli, Quartz India, "How former rickshaw pullers are steering a green revolution on Indian roads," 7 Aug. 2019 The men allegedly tied up a 71-year-old woman and fled with marijuana, money and firearms. Daily Pilot, "Police arrest man wanted in connection with Laguna Beach home-invasion robbery," 24 July 2019

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).


involving a confidence or trust

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