\ 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 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 And some said their preferred abbreviation is tied up with nostalgia. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Sorry, UA fans. It's now UArizona," 28 Oct. 2019 The benign explanation is that this is portfolio diversification: Most of Del Vecchio’s wealth is tied up in the eyewear industry. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Watch Out, Billionaire Del Vecchio Is Meddling," 16 Oct. 2019 For example, Oklahoma has tied up with an Amazon partner and pays $26,000 for two services on Amazon's servers, Pam Slater, assistant secretary at the Oklahoma State Election board said. NBC News, "How Amazon moved into the business of U.S. elections," 15 Oct. 2019 Mossburg tied up the man, Judd said, and during the night killed the female housemate, Judd said. Ralph Ellis And Amanda Watts, CNN, "Man called 'a spree killer' arrested in Florida after barricading himself in house and shooting at officers," 15 Oct. 2019 Court records indicate that the wealth of Sackler family members who own Purdue is mostly tied up in private trusts and business entities domestically and overseas. BostonGlobe.com, "The sale of the ski resorts was finalized last week even as the family’s role in the opioid crisis is being hotly contested in courts.," 1 Oct. 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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Statistics for tie-up

Time Traveler for tie-up

The first known use of tie-up was in 1530

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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

Comments on tie-up

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concealed or difficult to comprehend

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