\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tie


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for tie

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Williams, 39, is attempting to win her 24th Grand Slam title — which would tie the all-time record — and her first since 2017. Analis Bailey, USA TODAY, "What time is Williams-Osaka match? Live stream, TV channel info and more for Australian Open semifinal," 18 Feb. 2021 Max Miller scored in the first two minutes of the third period to tie the score. Star Tribune, "Tuesday's prep sports roundup," 17 Feb. 2021 Democrats will try to tie Trump to anyone involved in the possible recall campaign of Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as to any Republican candidate running in competitive House races that could decide who controls power in Washington after next year. San Francisco Chronicle, "Trump looms over California politics, even after impeachment," 13 Feb. 2021 Flowers are an important decoration for this holiday, according to Vietnam Travel, as many have meanngs that tie into the Lunar New Year. Frances Lee, Woman's Day, "Everything to Know About Lunar New Year's Traditions," 12 Feb. 2021 With former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial starting today, Senate Democrats are focused on trying to tie a direct line between Trump's rhetoric and the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Olivia Rubin, ABC News, "'Because President Trump said to': Over a dozen Capitol rioters say they were following Trump's guidance," 9 Feb. 2021 It’s also a storytelling problem: Trying to tie the dozens of smaller stories generated by the unfolding disaster into a single, digestible narrative for a national publication is tricky. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Colorado River Crisis Is a National Crisis," 8 Feb. 2021 Schauffele birdied the par-4 18th for a 71 to tie for second with Kyoung-Hoon Lee (68). John Nicholson, ajc, "Brooks Koepka eagles 17, rallies to win Phoenix Open," 7 Feb. 2021 The tie-up strings back together bits of Standard Oil—broken up in 1911 in the world’s most famous trustbusting exercise. The Economist, "Shareholders are pushing ExxonMobil to go green," 6 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shiffrin also set an American record with her sixth world championship title, breaking a tie with Ted Ligety, who retired last week. Andrew Dampf, ajc, "Shiffrin close to male skiers on same course at worlds," 15 Feb. 2021 Shiffrin set an American record with her sixth world championship title, breaking a tie with Ted Ligety, who retired last week. Andrew Dampf, San Francisco Chronicle, "American Mikaela Shiffrin close to male skiers on same course at worlds," 15 Feb. 2021 Another problem is what to do when there is a tie vote in committee, which normally would kill a bill by preventing a floor vote. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Austin appears a lock for confirmation, as Senate votes Friday," 22 Jan. 2021 Bailey alleged that three ballots were damaged during the county's retabulation, resulting in the proposal passing by one vote, rather than being defeated in a tie vote, the order said. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Judge to conduct hearing on whether to lift protective order, release Antrim County results," 13 Dec. 2020 Texas made a convoluted argument about how it would be harmed if Kamala Harris, as Vice-President, ever had to break a tie vote in the Senate, which didn’t even track logically. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Supreme Court Rejects Texas’s Shameful Lawsuit, But There Has to Be a Reckoning," 12 Dec. 2020 The viral tweet from Jenna Ellis was factual at the time of writing because it was posted between the tie vote and the final agreement. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted twice on certifying election results," 19 Nov. 2020 Anyway, the proposal went before the Planning Commission in late September and was turned down by a tie vote of 3-3. Byron Tate, Arkansas Online, "Shelter tipping point in on-edge area of PB," 14 Nov. 2020 The tie vote, a first as far as anyone could remember in the riverside community west of Cottage Grove, came as a surprise to Polta. Matt Mckinney, Star Tribune, "Coin flips decides a tied town supervisor race in Grey Cloud Island Township," 12 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tie

Time Traveler for tie

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for tie

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tie. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on tie

What made you want to look up tie? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!