\ 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 Edwards narrowly beat wealthy Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who invested more than $14 million of his own money to finance his campaign and tied himself to Trump from start to finish. Greg Hilburn, USA TODAY, "Louisiana's John Bel Edwards wins reelection to remain Deep South's only Democratic governor," 17 Nov. 2019 Rispone, a wealthy businessman and long-time Republican donor, tied himself to Trump. NBC News, "Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wins re-election in blow to Trump," 17 Nov. 2019 Groskritz scored the first goal Saturday with 22 minutes left in the first half but then sophomore Anna Moser tied it up for NCCC foe Ellington, which had lost to Granby 5-0 and 4-0 during the regular season. Lori Riley, courant.com, "Granby girls soccer keeps on winning, beats Ellington 3-1 in the Class M quarterfinals," 16 Nov. 2019 But Marvin Williams tied it with 23.3 seconds left. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons stung at buzzer by Hornets' Malik Monk for 4th straight loss," 16 Nov. 2019 Martin’s extra point tied it with 7:53 left in the half. Jeff Seidel, baltimoresun.com, "Mount Saint Joseph captures MIAA A football title, ending McDonogh’s shot at perfect season, 17-10," 16 Nov. 2019 Detroit’s Anthony Athanasiou scored his second goal of the game at 15:46 of the third period to tie it 3-3. Ross Mckeon, SFChronicle.com, "Sharks back to .500 with sixth straight win, a 4-3 shootout win over Detroit," 16 Nov. 2019 Lake Highland Prep jumped to a 4-1 lead in the clinching game, only for Santa Fe to fight back and tie it at 4-4, triggering a side-out battle to 9. Lynn Ramsey, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake Highland Prep volleyball wins sixth FHSAA state title," 16 Nov. 2019 While Rispone has tied himself to Mr. Trump's image, Edwards has strayed far from his national and concentrated on local issues in Louisiana, a historically conservative state that Mr. Trump won by about 20 points. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Elizabeth Warren outlines plan for universal insurance," 15 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Amazon rival Oracle protested the bid process in federal court, citing potential improper ties between Pentagon staff and Amazon, but lost its case this summer. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Andrew Yang wants to hold social media companies legally responsible for content," 15 Nov. 2019 The latter was appointed in the spring of 2016 after months of disputes between McGrady and the other three council members about how to fill the fourth seat in the wake of a tie between two candidates in the November 2015 election. David Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Re-elected Aberdeen Mayor McGrady ready to ‘rock and roll into the future’ with new, returning City Council members," 13 Nov. 2019 Deeper ties between the British luxury brand and BMW would build on an existing collaboration to develop engines and electric-drive technology, though the German carmaker’s former chief executive officer in August ruled out any equity investment. Siddharth Philip, Fortune, "To Polish an Iconic British Brand, Jaguar’s Owner Looks For Help in Germany and China," 12 Nov. 2019 Economists have long questioned the ties between the stock market and the performance of the real economy. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "Trump touts wage gains and factory jobs in Economic Club of New York speech," 12 Nov. 2019 An unlikely scenario would be a tie between Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and UAB. Evan Dudley, al, "5 takeaways from UAB’s loss to Southern Miss," 12 Nov. 2019 The ties that bind him to the team are made of the world’s strongest substance: money. Kent Somers, azcentral, "The concern is real: David Johnson's performance and contract are weighing down the Cardinals," 11 Nov. 2019 The economic ties between Russia and China have also tended to produce more headlines than substance. Madeline Roache, Time, "30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia Is Only Pretending to Be a Major Power," 9 Nov. 2019 Sculptor Will Hemsley has said the image of the star ties into the American flag, the military and the concept of a spirit fallen to earth. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Connecticut’s fallen fighters honored at memorial dedication in East Hartford," 9 Nov. 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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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

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tieing%20the%20knot. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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