\ ˈtī How to pronounce tie (audio) \
tied; tying\ ˈtī-​iŋ How to pronounce tying (audio) \ or tieing

Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to fasten, attach, or close by means of a tie
b : to form a knot or bow in tie your scarf
c : to make by tying constituent elements tied a wreath tie a fishing fly
2a : to place or establish in relationship : connect
b : to unite in marriage
c : to unite (musical notes) by a tie
d : to join (power systems) electrically
3 : to restrain from independence or freedom of action or choice : constrain by or as if by authority, influence, agreement, or obligation
4a(1) : to make or have an equal score with in a contest
(2) : to equalize (the score) in a game or contest
(3) : to equalize the score of (a game)
b : to provide or offer something equal to : equal

intransitive verb

: to make a tie: such as
a : to make a bond or connection
b : to make an equal score
c : to become attached
d : to close by means of a tie
tie into
: to attack with vigor
tie one on
: to get drunk
tie the knot
: to perform a marriage ceremony also : to get married



Definition of tie (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a line, ribbon, or cord used for fastening, uniting, or drawing something closed especially : shoelace
b(1) : a structural element (such as a rod or angle iron) holding two pieces together : a tension member in a construction
(2) : any of the transverse supports to which railroad rails are fastened to keep them in line
2 : something that serves as a connecting link: such as
a : a moral or legal obligation to someone or something typically constituting a restraining power, influence, or duty
b : a bond of kinship or affection
3 : a curved line that joins two musical notes of the same pitch to denote a single tone sustained through the time value of the two
4a : an equality in number (as of votes or scores)
b : equality in a contest also : a contest that ends in a draw
5 : a method or style of tying or knotting
6 : something that is knotted or is to be knotted when worn: such as
b : a low laced shoe : oxford

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Other Words from tie


tieless \ ˈtī-​ləs How to pronounce tieless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tie

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of tie in a Sentence

Verb His kidnappers tied him to a chair. She tied a scarf around her neck. She tied knots in the rope. You need to tie your shoe. His hands and feet had been tied together. She tied the apron loosely around her waist. The team still has a chance to tie. I had the lead but he tied me by making a birdie on the last hole. Her time tied the world record. He tied the school's record in the high jump. Noun He was wearing a suit and tie. You have a spot on your tie. The pants have a tie at the top. He was not ready to accept the ties of family life.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After starting 1-3 in the conference, MU is tied for second with Creighton and Villanova behind Seton Hall (10-1). Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette 76, Butler 57: Building momentum toward the Madness," 9 Feb. 2020 Briefly: Maverick McNealy, who grew up in Portola Valley and graduated from Stanford, tied for fifth after shooting 66-68 on the weekend. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Ex-49ers QB Steve Young plays to the crowd in final round of Pebble Beach Pro-Am," 9 Feb. 2020 Brett tied the game at 1-all with a penalty kick in the 49th minute, and Atlanta’s Adam Jahn returned the favor in the 67th minute to put the visitors up 2-1. Cheryl Wray, al, "‘A lot of fun’: Legion FC kicks off 2020 vs. Atlanta United in exhibition game," 9 Feb. 2020 Valkyries junior Annabel Crush tied her regional record by winning the 200 individual medley in 1:58.89. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Trinity boys, Sacred Heart girls take team titles in Region Five swim championships," 9 Feb. 2020 After Sabonis' layup with 6:27 left tied the score at 75, the Pacers sank themselves. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Pacers lose composure vs. Toronto Raptors again to lose 4th game in a row," 8 Feb. 2020 Drew Lutz, who added 15 points for the Cardinals, made a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to force overtime tied 68-all. ExpressNews.com, "Shooting, foul woes doom UTSA in loss," 8 Feb. 2020 Growing up in Ciudad Juarez, a city in Mexico that sits on the El Paso border, her backyard was the desert, so most of her design aesthetic and core concepts tie back to Mother Earth. Scarlett Newman, Teen Vogue, "Romina Cenisio On Working for Alexander Wang, Rihanna, and Her Own Brand," 8 Feb. 2020 The 49ers, on the other hand, haven’t trailed once in these playoffs and were only tied once (after the opening score). Cameron Dasilva, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Super Bowl LIV Prop Betting: First quarter moneyline," 28 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Locsin signed the notice on the order of Duterte, who has often criticized U.S. security policies while praising those of China and Russia despite the Philippine military's close historic ties with its American counterpart. Jim Gomez, Anchorage Daily News, "Philippines notifies US of intent to end major security pact allowing US forces to train in the country," 11 Feb. 2020 The United States has pursued an aggressive campaign to block allies from using Huawei in their 5G network plans, arguing that the company's close ties to the Chinese government pose a national security risk. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "US pressures allies against using Huawei with new evidence of security risk," 11 Feb. 2020 In Congo, incumbents win, or the candidate with the closest ties. NBC News, "Ex-Obama political veterans work to bring racial diversity to 2020 campaigns," 10 Feb. 2020 Though the Associated Press has been unable to declare a winner in last Monday’s Iowa caucuses, Sanders and Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Ind., emerged in an effective tie. Julie Pace, SFChronicle.com, "Democrats anxious after fiasco marks start of race," 10 Feb. 2020 Rough wooden planks on the wall are reminiscent of railroad ties. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Proof Bar BQ nears opening in Tremont (photos)," 10 Feb. 2020 In 2018, Crédit Agricole Group compiled a tongue-in-cheek analysis of Mr. Draghi’s tie-wearing habits and moves by the central bank. James Hookway, WSJ, "In the Eternal Quest to Decode Fedspeak, Here Come the Computers," 9 Feb. 2020 Mickelson is now in position to break a tie with Tiger Woods for PGA Tour wins in California, each currently with 14. Steve Dimeglio, Golfweek, "Phil Mickelson one shot off lead at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am," 8 Feb. 2020 There is a tie at the finish line in the Catholic Conference once again. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, "BC High basketball rallies to beat Catholic Memorial, earn share of Catholic Conference title," 8 Feb. 2020

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tie


Middle English teg, tye, from Old English tēag; akin to Old Norse taug rope, Old English tēon to pull — more at tow entry 1

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Time Traveler for tie

Time Traveler

The first known use of tie was before the 12th century

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Statistics for tie

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tie. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for tie


How to pronounce tie (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to attach (someone or something) to something with a string, rope, etc.
: to pass (something, such as a string, ribbon, or rope) around itself in a way that attaches it to something or holds it in place : to make a knot or bow in (something)
: to close or hold (something) with a string, rope, etc., that is attached to it or wrapped around it



English Language Learners Definition of tie (Entry 2 of 2)

: a piece of string, ribbon, cord, etc., that is used for fastening, joining, or closing something
: something (such as an idea, interest, experience, or feeling) that is shared by people or groups and that forms a connection between them
: a responsibility that limits a person's freedom to do other things


\ ˈtī How to pronounce tie (audio) \

Kids Definition of tie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : an equality in number (as of votes or scores) The game ended in a tie.
3 : a contest that ends with an equal score They finished the season with six wins and two ties.
4 : one of the cross supports to which railroad rails are fastened
5 : a connecting link : bond family ties
6 : a line, ribbon, or cord used for fastening, joining, or closing
7 : a part (as a beam or rod) holding two pieces together


tied; tying\ ˈtī-​iŋ \ or tieing

Kids Definition of tie (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fasten, attach, or close by means of a tie
2 : to form a knot or bow in
3 : to bring together firmly : unite They are tied by marriage.
4 : to hold back from freedom of action Obligations tied her down.
5 : to make or have an equal score with in a contest

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More from Merriam-Webster on tie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tie

Spanish Central: Translation of tie

Nglish: Translation of tie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tie for Arabic Speakers

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