\ ˈtī-ˌəp How to pronounce tie-up (audio) \

Definition of tie-up

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slowdown or stoppage of traffic, business, or operation (as by a mechanical breakdown)
2 : connection, association helpful financial tie-ups
3a : a cow stable also : a space for a single cow in a stable
b : a mooring place for a boat

tie up

tied up; tying up or tieing up; ties up

Definition of tie up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to attach, fasten, or bind securely also : to wrap up and fasten
2a : to connect closely : join tie up the loose ends
b : to cause to be linked so as to depend on or relate to something
3a : to place or invest in such a manner as to make unavailable for other purposes their money was tied up in stocks
b : to restrain from normal movement, operation, or progress traffic was tied up for miles
4a : to keep busy was tied up in conference all day
b : to preempt the use of tied up the phone for an hour

intransitive verb

1 : dock the ferry ties up at the south slip
2 : to assume a definite relationship this ties up with what I told you before

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Examples of tie-up in a Sentence

Verb an accident is tying up traffic at 5th and Broadway
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gantz has until Wednesday to tie up negotiations, with one potential option a minority government backed by Israeli-Arab dominated parties, who now comprise the third largest voting block in Israel’s parliament. Joseph Hincks, Time, "The White House Says Israeli Settlements in the West Bank Are No Longer Illegal. Here's What That Means," 19 Nov. 2019 There are so many questions that need answers and so many plotlines that deserve to be tied up. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Sasha Pieterse Thinks Emison Is Back Together Post "Pretty Little Liars: Perfectionists" Cancellation," 16 Oct. 2019 After nine days, partly spent tied up on a mountainside, he was let go. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "A family with roots in the Seattle region starts over in Mexico," 24 Sep. 2019 Still, the long-term future of both programs remains tied up in Congressional spending decisions and the potential creation of a new military service branch for space. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "The Pentagon taps Microsoft and Ball to pilot new military satellites," 17 Sep. 2019 Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace, both journalists from Alabama, spent three years visiting Selma, trying to tie up the loose ends of the murder that took place there more than a half-century ago. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "JoAnne Bland brings history to life in Selma," 13 Aug. 2019 An email from his supervisor suggested several requests were tied up in a back-and-forth between DHS and MNIT, the state’s information technology agency. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "MN DHS under scrutiny for treatment of employees with disabilities," 14 Nov. 2019 Some calls occurred before the office was even open and the bill showed all three phone lines have been tied up at the same time making calls — that cost hundreds of dollars each. chicagotribune.com, "South Holland dentist gets phone bill totaling more than $180,000 after fraudulent calls made to the U.K.," 2 Nov. 2019 Last week, the state announced that the mainline ferry Malaspina will be tied up because there is not enough money to repair it. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "New ferry maintenance woes leave more Southeast Alaska towns without winter service," 1 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tie-up.' 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-up


1851, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for tie-up

Time Traveler

The first known use of tie-up was in 1530

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Statistics for tie-up

Cite this Entry

“Tie-up.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ties%20up. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for tie-up


How to pronounce tie up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tie-up

chiefly US : a situation in which something (such as traffic) becomes very slow or stops because of a problem, accident, etc.
: a close connection between people or things
: an agreement to do business together

More from Merriam-Webster on tie-up

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tie-up

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tie-up

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