\ 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

Clint Bowyer, currently ranked 15th in the standings sits eight points ahead of Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman — who are tied for 16th — while Jimmie Johnson faces an uphill climb at 18 points behind. Ellen J. Horrow, USA TODAY, "NASCAR at Indianapolis 2019: Schedule, lineup, TV and weather for Brickyard 400," 8 Sep. 2019 The 2018 Gators tied LSU for the SEC lead with a plus-12 turnover margin. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF scouting report: No. 11 Gators to host 41-point underdog UT-Martin," 7 Sep. 2019 Serena Williams lost to Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu in the U.S. Open final, missing her chance to tie for the most Grand Slam singles title wins ever. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Serena Williams loses U.S. Open to Bianca Andreescu, a 19-year-old Canadian," 7 Sep. 2019 Over/under: Back the UNDER (51.5, -105) on a number tied for the highest in the CFL this week. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Toronto Argonauts at Ottawa Redblacks odds, predictions, picks and best bets," 6 Sep. 2019 German leads the league in winning percentage and is tied for the lead with 17 wins. Andrew Mahoney, BostonGlobe.com, "Game 141: Yankees at Red Sox lineups and notes," 6 Sep. 2019 On the air: streaming at usdtoreros.com Toreros notes: Michael Bandy’s 10 catches rank tied for fifth in the FCS. ... San Diego Union-Tribune, "Toreros will try to shore up defense against UC Davis," 6 Sep. 2019 Williams will be aiming for her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which would tie Margaret Court for the all-time record. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Serena Williams vs. Bianca Andreescu: Keys to the Match, Predictions for U.S. Open Final," 6 Sep. 2019 In the team's four exhibition games, Mitchell led Team USA in 3-pointers made (6), tied for the lead in steals (4), was second in points (12.5) and minutes averaged (23.3), and was third on the team in total assists (8). Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "Donovan Mitchell has become a vital player for Team USA in the FIBA Basketball World Cup," 6 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Authorities described Reed as a transient with ties to Marin City and Vallejo. Gary Klien, The Mercury News, "North Bay detox murder suspect ordered to stand trial," 9 Sep. 2019 The Cambridge City Council, which is also considering renaming streets and buildings named after those with ties to the slave trade, unanimously supported the state bill. New York Times, "A State Wrestles With Its Imagery: A Sword Looming Over a Native American," 7 Sep. 2019 Since Trump became president, there have been thousands of visits to his properties, not only by Trump himself, but by foreign leaders, lobbyists, Republican candidates, members of Congress, Cabinet members, and others with ties to the president. Eric Lipton, BostonGlobe.com, "Checking in at Trump hotels, for kinship (and maybe some sway)," 7 Sep. 2019 Both teams have assistant coaches with ties to the opponent; Mark Banker, a former OSU defensive coordinator, coaches inside linebackers, while Beaver assistants Legi Suiaunoa and Kefense Hynson came from Hawaii. oregonlive, "Will former Oregon State linebacker Isaiah Tufaga’s transfer to Hawaii aid the Rainbow Warriors game-planning for Beavers?," 2 Sep. 2019 After the column was published, several readers with ties to the area wrote or called to offer more bits and pieces of Redland lore. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Complex route leads to simple reason for San Antonio road’s name," 31 Aug. 2019 Shortly after reluctantly assuming his reign, however, the fledgling royal must balance political conflicts and the resulting war his father left behind, while also grappling with emotional ties to his conflicted past. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Timothée Chalamet is a brooding royal in first trailer for The King," 27 Aug. 2019 Attire for riders ranged from shorts and T-shirts to dress shirts with ties. Robert Higgs, cleveland.com, "Riders give electric scooters a try as Bird returns to downtown Cleveland; other vendors expected this week," 26 Aug. 2019 That comes amid a national trend of people contracting serious lung illnesses with apparent ties to e-cigarette use. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Vaping May Have Caused an Illinois Patient to Die From a Respiratory Illness," 23 Aug. 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

11 Sep 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

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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