\ 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
a : necktie
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

band, bind, truss

Synonyms: Noun

dead heat, draw, stalemate, standoff

Antonyms: Verb

unbind, untie

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Examples of tie in a Sentence


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.


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 tying the knot in London on Friday at the Church of Saint Yeghiche in South Kensington, Katharine McPhee and David Foster were seen holding hands at their wedding reception later in the evening. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Katharine McPhee Switches to Elegant Blue Dress at Wedding Reception with David Foster," 29 June 2019 After the Tigers tied it at 3-3 on Miguel Cabrera’s two-run single in the fifth, things began to slip away in the seventh. Chris Nelsen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' JaCoby Jones made an amazing catch, and it wasn't even his best ever," 29 June 2019 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee came next, tied at 3 percent. NBC News, "Warren ran away with the Democratic debate, survey by progressive group shows," 27 June 2019 Pat DeMarco sent Kauffmann's hanging slider 407 feet into the left-field bleachers — his seventh homer of the season and 100th for the Commodores — to tie it at 1 in the second. chicagotribune.com, "Vanderbilt tops Michigan 8-2 to capture College World Series title," 26 June 2019 Pat DeMarco sent Kauffmann’s hanging slider 407 feet into the left-field bleachers — his seventh homer of the season and 100th for the Commodores — to tie it at 1 in the second. Eric Olson, The Denver Post, "Vanderbilt wins 2nd national title, beating Michigan in Game 3," 26 June 2019 After tying the mark previously set by the 2002 Texas Rangers, the Yanks didn't waste any time rewriting the record books Tuesday night. USA TODAY, "Yankees set MLB record by homering in 28th consecutive game," 25 June 2019 Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are throwing a wedding in France after tying the knot in Las Vegas back in April. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Karlie Kloss Had A Second Sunset Wedding In Wyoming This Weekend," 25 June 2019 Quinnipiac puts Buttigieg at 8% and Harris at 7%, while Fox has the two candidates tied at 8%. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "These Are the Top-Polling Democratic Candidates," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Five days a week, the 25-year-old black belt in taekwondo ties her long hair up in a bun, covers it with a white headscarf and spars with her teammates. Washington Post, "For Afghan women, competing in the Olympics is only part of the struggle," 1 July 2019 The game was called in the 14th inning, ending in an 8-8 tie. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "1935: Cleveland hosts the 3rd All-Star Game - colorful characters, moments," 1 July 2019 Once a surprise hit, the show is now valuable intellectual property whose kitschy, culturally literate aesthetic lends itself much more readily to brand tie-ins than the only other contemporary TV series with such wide appeal, Game of Thrones. Judy Berman, Time, "Season 3 of Stranger Things Proves It Isn't Really a TV Show Anymore—It's a Franchise," 30 June 2019 The 20,000 eucalyptus trees planted a century ago were meant to be harvested for railroad ties but proved too brittle for that purpose. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scripps Ranch: Family-friendly spot set in an imported eucalyptus forest," 30 June 2019 Luis Saurez stepped up first and saw his effort blocked, with Peru going on to score five perfect spot kicks and set up a semi final tie with Chile. SI.com, "Copa America Roundup: Peru & Chile Prevail on Penalties as Colombia & Uruguay Bow Out," 30 June 2019 Jewelers sold anniversary medals, bracelets, charms, money clips, earrings, cuff links and tie bars; this newspaper sold a commemorative book. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Oscar-winning aviation epic shot in San Antonio had a’ re-premiere’ for Kelly AFB’s 50th anniversary," 29 June 2019 The Hollywood ties to this Beverly Hills estate stretch back decades, beginning in the 1930s when it was purchased by L.K. Sidney, an early CBS producer and former president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, for $50,000. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "Home of the Week: Beverly Hills estate boasts a full cast of Hollywood players," 29 June 2019 The field will be cut to the low-60 players and ties before Sunday's final round. Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "TPC River's Bend hosting one-of-a-kind tournament for LPGA's Symetra Tour," 28 June 2019

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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Statistics for tie

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tie

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

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More Definitions for tie



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)

1 : necktie
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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