\ 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 The Brewers wound up tying the game, 2-2, but the game was suspended by rain and ultimately replayed as part of the doubleheader on the final Friday of the season. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Next Ten: Brewers stave off disaster against Orioles on last day of 1982 season," 1 June 2020 The Badgers did some roaring of their own, scoring the game-tying TD with 86 seconds left, then apparently forcing overtime with a stop that put MSU 44 yards from the end zone with just four seconds left. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "The most stunning Michigan sports endings this century from all corners," 1 June 2020 The pair developed a friendly rivalry, from tying for fifth place as sophomores all the way to earning first grand prize in their divisions at a regional contest this year. Greg Luca, Alia Malik And Krista Torralva |, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio’s high school Class of 2020, shaped by crisis, stayed cool and collected," 31 May 2020 Lewis recovered a school record-tying eight fumbles during his career. oregonlive, "Osia Lewis, former Oregon State linebacker, coach, dies from cancer at 57," 31 May 2020 Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Patrolman Michael Hewitt said there was no evidence tying the attack to the protesters. NBC News, "May 30 George Floyd death and protests nationwide," 31 May 2020 In some places, the tape wasn’t enough and people kept playing anyway, so city officials clamped rims shut with two-by-fours that look like giant clothespins, tied the nets up in a knot or removed the rims altogether. Los Angeles Times, "Nico Naismith is bringing basketball back to L.A. one homemade hoop at a time," 30 May 2020 Despite that, Cline probably has the best chance given that he was guaranteed $20,000 as part of his deal -- tied for second highest among Colts UDFAs. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Ranking Colts newcomers by 2020 impact," 30 May 2020 An excessive heat warning remained in effect through Sunday for the southwestern United States, and Friday the Phoenix area tied the record high of 112 degrees set in 1910, according to officials. Chelsea Hofmann, azcentral, "High of 112 degrees on Friday ties record set in 1910," 29 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Optimism about the SpaceX launch, the first manned mission by NASA in nine years, could provide a boost to the fortunes of many companies with ties to the business of space. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Virgin Galactic stock soars following SpaceX success," 1 June 2020 The move would target scholars associated with Chinese universities with ties to the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA. Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, "U.S. to Cancel Visas for Some Chinese Graduate Students," 29 May 2020 Those with direct ties to universities affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army will have their visas canceled, American officials with knowledge of the discussions told the New York Times. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "Trump administration to expel Chinese graduate students linked to China’s military schools," 28 May 2020 In March a man with ties to neo-Nazi groups was killed in a shoot-out with FBI officers who were attempting to arrest him for planning to bomb a hospital in Missouri. The Economist, "A boog’s life Why some protesters in America wear Hawaiian shirts," 23 May 2020 Newly released video footage shows Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia jogger gunned down by a father and son with ties to local law enforcement, being handcuffed and arrested in 2017 on suspicion of shoplifting from a Brunswick-area Walmart. Fox News, "Video surfaces of Ahmaud Arbery being arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in 2017," 21 May 2020 Documents relating to that decision were signed by a Justice Department official with close ties to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, not prosecutors who worked on the case. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s attorney general joins others in asking judge to stop prosecution of Michael Flynn," 20 May 2020 In 2014, a Frenchman with ties to Steinmetz and BSG Resources was sentenced to two years in prison for interfering with a U.S. probe of bribery in connection with mining rights in Simandou. Thomas Biesheuvel, Bloomberg.com, "Mining Billionaire Gets Help From Ex-Spies in Bitter Legal Fight," 20 May 2020 Fired by Trump: Democrats in Congress have opened an investigation into President Trump’s firing of the State Department’s inspector general, who was replaced with an ambassador with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "Coronavirus Clusters, Latin America, Sweden: Your Monday Briefing," 18 May 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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tie. Accessed 5 Jun. 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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