\ 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

In this production there is what looks like a large electric phallus to which Lohengrin ties up Elsa and then sits back and watches impotently. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: How two top directors are teaching Europe the L.A. School of Opera," 23 Aug. 2019 Public anger on the mainland spiked last week when protesters at Hong Kong International Airport tied up and beat two men from China. New York Times, "With Troop Buildup, China Sends a Stark Warning to Hong Kong," 19 Aug. 2019 Public anger on the mainland spiked last week when protesters at Hong Kong International Airport tied up and beat two men from China. Steven Lee Myers, BostonGlobe.com, "With troop buildup, China sends a stark warning to Hong Kong," 19 Aug. 2019 But state Auditor Elaine Howle told the lawmakers her review found no clear indication that the $1.5 billion — mostly from tuition — was tied up and could not be used for instructional purposes. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "CSU head answers lawmakers’ questions about ‘alarming’ $1.5 billion reserve fund," 13 Aug. 2019 Department spokesman Jason Evans said high demand from some areas ties up ambulances and prompts Dallas Fire-Rescue to send ambulances from stations farther away. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Dallas' ambulance response times lag far behind national standard," 6 Aug. 2019 Dencklau’s then-girlfriend was tied up and Huggins stole some of Dencklau’s property, including guns, according to the government. oregonlive.com, "Gypsy Joker Outlaw Motorcycle Club member pleads guilty to racketeering conspiracy," 27 June 2019 Two men accused of shooting at New Orleans police after officers confronted them during an armed robbery at an Uptown drug store tied up employees with zip ties and filled a trash bag with prescription drugs, an NOPD sergeant wrote. Emily Lane, nola.com, "CVS police shootout suspects detained employees with zip ties, filled trash bag with pills: NOPD," 18 June 2019 The local guide from Igiugig, hired by Luke to steer us through the channels of the ever-changing Braids, pulled up to our boat in his skiff, tied up to the boat and came on board. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "On the way to Bristol Bay, a sunken boat buoys a friendship," 12 June 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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