Definition of tie in English:

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Pronunciation: /tī/

verb (ties, tying /ˈtī-iNG/, tied)

1 [with object] Attach or fasten (someone or something) with string or similar cord: they tied Max to a chair her long hair was tied back in a bow
More example sentences
  • She tied the string attached the sheath to her belt and looked back into the crate.
  • He tied Charcoal's leading cord to the tree, and she gave him a disapproving gaze.
  • She had long hair, which was tied back in a ponytail and she had facial piercings or facial jewellery.
bind, tie up, tether, hitch, strap, truss, fetter, rope, chain, make fast, moor, lash, attach, fasten, fix, secure, join, connect, link, couple
1.1Fasten (something) to or around someone or something by means of its strings or by forming the ends into a knot or bow: Lewis tied on his apron
More example sentences
  • The easiest way to practice this knot is to try tying pieces of string to a nail.
  • I unrolled the bandage and started tying it around her head.
  • He bandaged her wounds and tied them tight to stop the bleeding.
do up, lace, knot
1.2Form (a string, ribbon, or lace) into a knot or bow: Rick bent to tie his shoelaces
More example sentences
  • Jocelyn slipped her arms through the short sleeves and Sylvie told her to hold still while she tied the golden ribbon lacing up the back; it ended with a bow at her waist.
  • I quickly bent down to tie the bothersome laces and walked back to my desk, leaving Greg to put away the rest of the equipment.
  • Make certain you wear shoes suitable for climbing and working on a ladder, and that the shoe laces are tied.
1.3Form (a knot or bow) by tying: tie a knot in one end of the cotton
More example sentences
  • Then he brushed his knee-length hair one hundred strokes, braided it, and tied it back with a piece of green ribbon, simply knotting it instead of tying a bow.
  • It was a process a bit like tying a granny knot: twisting one edge of the sausage rope into a loop, then threading the other end through, looping it, and twisting again.
  • Keep the loops tight, and they will hold the laces in place while you tie your final knot/bow.
1.4 [no object] Be fastened with a knot or bow: a sarong that ties at the waist
1.5Restrict or limit (someone) to a particular situation, occupation, or place: she didn’t want to be like her mother, tied to a feckless man
More example sentences
  • And of course, until it's all fixed I can't get my email in Detroit unless I'm tied to dial-up access.
  • But once he is tied to a project, he is fully committed.
  • You weren't tied to a house, you weren't tied to anything.
restrict, restrain, limit, constrain, trammel, confine, cramp, hamper, handicap, hamstring, encumber, shackle, inhibit
2 [with object] Connect; link: self-respect is closely tied up with the esteem in which one is held by one’s peers
More example sentences
  • Right now we have a cost-of-living increase, that is tied more to wages than actual inflation.
  • Happiness, in this scheme of things, is always tied up with what happens, especially what happens by luck or chance.
  • His switch to study theology with work in the Anglican Church may well have been tied up with the beginning of the First World War.
link to, connect to, couple to/with, relate to, join to, marry to;
make conditional on, bind up with
2.1Hold together by a crosspiece or tie: ceiling joists are used to tie the rafter feet
2.2 Music Unite (written notes) by a tie.
2.3 Music Perform (two notes) as one unbroken note.
3 [no object] Achieve the same score or ranking as another competitor or team: he tied for second in the league [with object]: Toronto tied the score in the fourth inning
More example sentences
  • Brazilian gymnasts earned or tied for the top score on three of the four women's events.
  • But they should be even stronger in 2000, as 19 starters return from a team that tied for the Mountain West title.
  • Porter also tied for the team lead in interceptions.
draw, be equal, be even, be neck and neck

noun (plural ties)

1A piece of string, cord, or the like used for fastening or tying something: he tightened the tie of his robe
More example sentences
  • Each kit contains a plastic sheet, a clean razor blade, a cutting surface, soap, and cord ties.
  • Some of the most damaging ties are fastened around trees for secondary purposes, for washing lines, swings or bird box fixings.
  • These are made of blue or white plastic clothes pegs, cable ties, nails and wire.
lace, string, cord, fastening, fastener
1.1US A shoe tied with a lace.
Example sentences
  • It had to be untied, loose ties with fat laces, always spotlessly white.
  • Roper also offers custom-designed ties for larger customers' needs.
2A rod or beam holding parts of a structure together.
Example sentences
  • This transparency is achievable because the building front is cantilevered and suspended from the main structure by diagonal ties.
  • All these walls have metal anchors, ties, and fasteners that cause thermal bridges.
2.1North American A wooden or concrete beam laid transversely under a railroad track to support it.
Example sentences
  • It was noted that they are currently working in the area placing double rails and new ties, along with other improvements.
  • Colonel McDaniel said the base already spent $1 million of this money to replace some of the rails and rail ties.
  • The speed limit on this section of heavier rail on concrete ties is 110 mph for conventional Amtrak trains.
2.2 Music A curved line above or below two notes of the same pitch indicating that they are to be played for the combined duration of their time values.
Example sentences
  • A curved line similar to the slur may be used to indicate a portamento effect; the same sign between two adjacent notes of the same pitch serves as a tie.
  • In a rush, he began writing, though he was careful as he drew in all of the notes and ties.
3 (usually ties) A thing that unites or links people: it is important that we keep family ties strong
More example sentences
  • Their lives were often founded on strong family ties and childhood friendships.
  • Studies consistently show that those who are socially isolated are two to five times the risk of dying from all causes compared to those who maintain strong ties with family, friends and community.
  • Second, education provides a ‘bridge’ to social networks beyond the strong ties of family, friends, and neighbors.
bond, connection, link, relationship, attachment, affiliation, allegiance, friendship;
kinship, interdependence
3.1A thing that restricts someone’s freedom of action: some cities and merchants were freed from feudal ties
More example sentences
  • First, they must be free from feudal ties, which would otherwise prevent them from entering any sort of market transaction.
  • However, following Government legislation relaxing the restrictive ties between pubs and the beer they sold, it has made less sense for breweries to hold onto these chains of pubs.
  • They should sort these problems out by talking frankly about the benefits of a thaw in their ties, free from constraints imposed by their formal positions.
4A strip of material worn around the collar and tied in a knot at the front with the ends hanging down, typically forming part of a man’s business or formal outfit; a necktie.
Example sentences
  • We have a business casual dress code at my office, which means collared shirts without a tie.
  • At The Mikado's rehearsals, the male actors have on formal jackets and ties and top hats, while the women wear dresses that would not look out of place at a lunch in a good restaurant.
  • All the men still have their shirts buttoned up tight to the collar, their ties knotted, their hair slicked back.
necktie, bow tie, string tie, bolo tie
5A result in a game or other competitive situation in which two or more competitors or teams have the same score or ranking; a draw: there was a tie for first place
More example sentences
  • Both sides had a few chances, it was a well fought contest and a tie was the best result.
  • A tie would result in five points for each team, and the terms losing draw and winning draw, with Shackleton's grateful thanks, would be consigned to the dustbin.
  • If a game ends in a tie, both teams earn a chance to win, not just the team that wins a coin flip, as is the case in the NFL.
draw, dead heat, deadlock



fit to be tied

see fit1.

tie someone (up) in knots

see knot1.

tie the knot

see knot1.

tie one on

North American informal Get drunk.
Example sentences
  • Well, we were sitting in the lounge ‘tying one on’ as they say in some places and who should enter the lounge?
  • They probably stayed too long at the bar - I'd seen them both tie one on more than once.
  • The smart thing to do is to control your drinking and if you have to tie one on, do it on your dime, after the party.

Phrasal verbs


tie someone down

Restrict someone to a particular situation or place: she didn’t want to be tied down by a full-time job
More example sentences
  • We're going to give up some of the trappings of life that have tied us down.
  • I have this thing where something has to be tying me down.
  • Yeah, I need to pursue this and I can't do that with a job tying me down.

tie something in (or tie in)

Cause something to fit or harmonize with something else (or fit or harmonize with something): her husband is able to tie in his shifts with hers at the hospital she may have developed ideas that don’t necessarily tie in with mine
More example sentences
  • In Orkney it is tying a strength in archaeology to that subject's importance to local tourism.
  • Anyone who ties it in with football is deluding themselves.
  • He has an interesting piece on the affair at History News Network, and ties it in to broader issues having to do with politics and the academy.
be consistent, tally, agree, be in agreement, accord, concur, fit in, harmonize, be in tune, dovetail, correspond, match;
square, jibe

tie into

North American informal Attack or get to work on vigorously: tie into breakfast now and let’s get a move on
More example sentences
  • After we send the packs and skis over, Ken ties into the cord.
  • As everybody ties into the Internet, it is every citizen's responsibility to be aware of security issues.

tie someone up

Bind someone’s legs and arms together or bind someone to something so that they cannot move or escape: robbers tied her up and ransacked her home
More example sentences
  • He tied him up before attacking and binding the two other members of staff.
  • Miss Lees was tied up but managed to escape and hid from the gunman for several hours while he searched for her with his dog.
  • The robbers held them at gunpoint and tied them up before escaping with a substantial amount of jewellery.
(usually be tied up) informal4.1 Occupy someone to the exclusion of any other activity: she would be tied up at the meeting all day
More example sentences
  • They don't take part in all the trial proceedings not because they are lazy but because they are tied up with other engagements.
  • So you would be tied up in legal proceedings, rather than attending to a very serious health issue?
  • I didn't get a chance to dance with you last night; you were tied up with some man all evening.
occupy, engage, keep busy

tie something up

1Bind or fasten something securely with rope, cord, or string.
Example sentences
  • But we managed to tie it up with string and continue.
  • The laundry cord was used to tie it up but it has broken too.
  • She took it, as well as two other blouses, one with strings to tie it up in the front, and the other with strings to tie it up in the back.
1.1Moor a vessel.
Example sentences
  • Into the 1860s at least, because of the seasonality of the tourist trade, most boats were tied up, out of service, for more than half the year.
  • But at the end of the first week in January, the weather is blowing hard and all boats are tied up.
  • Amy tied the boat up carefully at the dock once they arrived, and they all stood for a moment, looking out at the Island in the distance.
1.2 (often be tied up) Invest or reserve capital so that it is not immediately available for use: money tied up in accounts must be left to grow
More example sentences
  • One also has to consider risks as well as how long your money is tied up.
  • He has some money in a building society account, but a lot of his capital is tied up in shares.
  • This is because an equal, if not greater, proportion of our assets are tied up in share-related investments.
2Bring something to a satisfactory conclusion; settle: he said he had a business deal to tie up
More example sentences
  • It is understood the deal will be tied up within the next three months or so - despite indications that such a move would not be popular in the City.
  • I've heard about Middlesbrough coming in but to be honest, as far as we are concerned, we are confident the deal can be tied up.
  • Referring to the deal the day after it was tied up, he could barely contain his delight when he said: ‘I love it.’



Example sentences
  • The primary claim for this suitless, tieless wardrobe is that it represents a ‘relaxed’ and ‘non-threatening’ manner.
  • Mr Maude was tieless, as all Tory hopefuls have to be these days.
  • No, Fletcher was tieless and looking very relaxed: after such a good result it's no wonder.


Old English tīgan (verb), tēah (noun), of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with tie

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tie

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