\ ˈtī How to pronounce tie (audio) \
tied; tying\ ˈtī-​iŋ How to pronounce tie (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 tie (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 John Koka answered less than two minutes later to tie the game at 1. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland women’s lacrosse loses to Northwestern in Big Ten title game; Terps men’s soccer falls in NCAA tournament | ROUNDUP," 2 May 2021 He was made an impact as a cutter and hit a layup with 2:25 left to tie the game at 104. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' youth shows out in 115-105 loss to Mavs, as Tim Hardaway Jr. torches nets," 30 Apr. 2021 Pistons guard Jimmy Walker stole it, passed to Dave Bing, who missed a shot that Bob Quick put back to tie the game, along with a foul by Lew Alcindor. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Memorable moments from every game of the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks championship season," 29 Apr. 2021 But then Towns picked up his fifth foul and momentarily went out of the game, allowing Houston to tie the game at 102. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Make it three in a row: Timberwolves beat Houston 114-107," 27 Apr. 2021 The Beavers rallied from a pair of five-run deficits to tie the game at 9-9 heading in the eighth inning, then loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, threatening to win for the fifth time in the last six games with a late-game rally. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Oregon State baseball loses heartbreaker to UC Irvine on 9th-inning home run," 25 Apr. 2021 Steven Williams stepped up and swung for the fences, looking to tie the game. Giana Han, al, "Auburn baseball drops 14th SEC game with loss to Florida," 24 Apr. 2021 With Inter Miami down 1-0 through 73 minutes, Federico Higuaín sent a cross off a free kick into Philadelphia’s box and connected with his younger brother, Gonzalo Higuaín, with Gonzalo heading the ball into the back of the net to tie the game, 1-1. Khobi Price, sun-sentinel.com, "Higuaín brothers’ late goals seal win vs. Philadelphia Union, give Inter Miami first points of season," 24 Apr. 2021 Going 5-of-7 from deep for the game, Bridges hit a 3 to tie the game at 109-109 with 2:55 remaining in regulation to cap a 7-0 run. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Look back at OT thriller over Bucks, ahead to back-to-back at Sixers, Celtics," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Albert Pujols singled in the seventh for his 3,253rd career hit, breaking his tie with Nap Lajoie for 13th place in baseball history. Greg Beacham, Star Tribune, "Meadows hits 2 HRs, Rays beat sloppy Angels 8-3," 5 May 2021 Kickoff in the second leg of their semifinal tie is set for 3 p.m. Eastern. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "Chelsea vs. Real Madrid free live stream (5/5/21): How to watch, TV | UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg," 5 May 2021 Ramiah Curry, Lakota West - Curry finished in a 5th-place tie on the beam at state and was the runner-up at the district meet. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "Announcing the 2020-21 Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky High School Winter All-Stars," 4 May 2021 On game days, Spallina, dressed in a crisp tie and jacket, energetically struts the sidelines issuing instructions, but will pause occasionally to laugh at a joke from one of his players on the bench. New York Times, "Building a Lacrosse Powerhouse Out of Overlooked Recruits," 4 May 2021 Britain’s King George V went to Belfast for the occasion, putting a royal seal of approval on the province’s tie to Britain. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Northern Ireland turns 100 amid renewed worries tied to Brexit," 3 May 2021 But over the next couple years, as McKinnon watched Auth0 win customers almost exclusively through word-of-mouth, the idea of a tie-up nagged at him. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Okta’s Auth0 deal closes: Inside the 8-year, $6.5 billion courtship," 3 May 2021 However, Racing could not score itself, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "Racing Louisville FC ends Challenge Cup with 0-0 tie to Gotham FC, Carli Lloyd," 2 May 2021 Philadelphia Union dominated Atlanta United when the clubs met Tuesday for the first leg of a Concacaf Champions League semifinal tie. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Goal-scoring maestros Chicharito and Raul Ruidiaz square off when Seattle Sounders host LA Galaxy," 1 May 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tie. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on tie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tie

Nglish: Translation of tie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tie for Arabic Speakers

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