Definition of bind in English:

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Pronunciation: /bʌɪnd/

verb (past and past participle bound /baʊnd/)

[with object]
1Tie or fasten (something) tightly together: logs bound together with ropes they bound her hands and feet
More example sentences
  • Within a few seconds, its forelegs were bound together tightly, and its tail was fastened to its hind legs.
  • Religion and art are tightly bound together, interpenetrating each other.
  • Dominick's hands and feet were bound together by thick rope and he could not stand up or attempt to escape.
tie, tie up, fasten (together), hold together, secure, make fast, attach;
rope, strap, lash, truss, tether, hitch, chain, fetter, pinion, shackle, hobble;
1.1Restrain (someone) by tying their hands and feet: the raider then bound and gagged Mr Glenn
More example sentences
  • She was bound from head to foot, her mouth gagged.
  • It was rather weak at first, but grew so rapidly that, had he been able to do anything other then feel pain, he might have ripped himself free from the restraints that bound him.
  • Two medical personnel had just shot her mother with a tranquilizer dart and had bound her with restraining cloth.
1.2Wrap (something) tightly: her hair was bound up in a towel
More example sentences
  • Viviane's deep red hair was bound up into a bun, although some of her hair was free anyway and very curly.
  • To prevent fluid buildup, she used bandages to bind her legs tightly, from toe to thigh, for 10 hours a day.
  • Some bundles of cardboard are bound in a way that airlines can use them as ballast, an extra weight required when the plane doesn't have enough cargo or passengers.
1.3Bandage (a wound): Shelley cleaned the wound and bound it up with a clean dressing
More example sentences
  • A passing taxi driver saw him, stopped to bind his wounds with bandages from his first aid kit, thus saving his life, and called an ambulance.
  • He dealt with that first, smearing salve over the bandage with which he bound the wound, and then attended to the many bruises.
  • Soon, she had cleaned the wounds, and bound them with bandages.
bandage, dress, cover, wrap, swathe, swaddle;
strap up, tape up
1.4 (be bound with) (Of an object) be encircled by something, typically metal bands, so as to have greater strength: an ancient oak chest bound with brass braces
More example sentences
  • Also, they were bound with several bands of intricately carved bronze.
  • The metal doors were bound with lock and chain but they were also partially unhinged from the wall.
  • The handle and hilt were bound with thick black material.
2Stick together or cause to stick together in a single mass: [with object]: mix the flour with the coconut and enough egg white to bind them
More example sentences
  • You may need to use a little bit of cold water to get it to bind together.
  • Set aside to cool, then stir in the egg whites to bind together.
  • Mix in the chopped spinach and spicy mushroom mix, then bind together with the egg white.
stick, cohere
2.1Cause (painting pigments) to form a smooth medium by mixing them with oil.
Example sentences
  • The same applies to bones, to cloth and paper and animal fat used to bind pigments in cave paintings.
  • In its broadest sense this term denotes painting done in pigments bound with a medium (generally gum arabic) which is soluble in water.
  • PsbS provides an essential function in plant photoprotection, with only minimal pigment binding.
2.2Hold by chemical bonding: a protein in a form that can bind DNA
More example sentences
  • Processivity is defined as the number of deoxyribonucleotides incorporated each time a DNA polymerase binds its template-primer.
  • ABL is a member of a group of proteins, which bind the Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen selectively and with high affinity.
  • The restriction enzyme bound on DNA at the first site binds its second site to a remote DNA sequence and then dissociates from the first one.
2.3 [no object] (bind to) Combine with (a substance) through chemical bonding: these proteins have been reported to bind to calmodulin
More example sentences
  • Plasminogen binds to both fibrinogen and fibrin, thereby being incorporated into a clot as it is formed.
  • An extreme example is the fact that the enzyme can bind to membrane carbohydrates and protein receptors.
  • Within cells both retinol and retinoic acid bind to specific receptor proteins.
3Cause (people) to feel united: the comradeship that had bound such a disparate bunch of lads together
More example sentences
  • I agree with those who underscore the complementarity of both interests and values that increasingly bind the United States and India.
  • However, the ties which bind the United States and Turkey together as important allies remain.
  • The desire to share information with others in the framing industry binds those who join guilds and clubs.
unite, join, bond, knit together, draw together, yoke together
3.1 (bind someone to) Cause someone to feel strongly attached to (a person or place): touches like that had bound men to him for life
More example sentences
  • Not merely would it hit the flow of new projects, it would undermine the tax planning of existing American operations in Ireland, loosening the ties that bind them to what is, in economic terms at least, the 51st state of the union.
  • What if the practical experience of the Scottish parliament does quite the reverse: strengthens the ties that bind Scotland to the Union?
  • The ties that bind Martin O'Neill to Celtic may have been, in reality, loosened by the Irishman's decision to sign only a 12-month rolling contract with the club last month.
4Impose a legal or contractual obligation on: a party who signs a document will normally be bound by its terms
More example sentences
  • She is a landed immigrant in Canada and bound by bail terms imposed Dec. 18.
  • However, the family considered their contractual obligations binding.
  • Less bound by legal procedure, such a commission can more quickly document a greater number of victims of authoritarian repression than the courts.
4.1Indenture (someone) as an apprentice: he was bound apprentice at the age of sixteen
More example sentences
  • They also worked for others as apprentices, or as bound labor paying off a debt, or because they were put out to work by county officials as paupers or orphans.
  • This relationship explains why domestic slaves, even after they had been manumitted, invariably remained with their master at whose death they often bound themselves to his heir or sought the protection of another master.
  • Though the people were spared a life of slavery, many of them ultimately came to the Americas as indentured servants, bound by contract to a specific term of unfree labor.
4.2 (bind oneself) formal Make a contractual or enforceable undertaking: the government cannot bind itself as to the form of subsequent legislation
More example sentences
  • Collusion is prohibited by Article 81 of the EC Treaty, which means (among other things) that firms cannot sign legally enforceable contracts to bind themselves to collusive understandings.
  • By signing the Taillories declaration, we have bound ourselves to making Environmental Programming a priority.
  • This is because in the non-statutory scheme the financial institution has bound itself in contract to accept the ombudsman's decision as final.
commit oneself, undertake, give an undertaking, pledge;
vow, promise, swear, give one's word
4.3(Of a court of law) require (someone) to fulfil an obligation, typically by paying a sum of money as surety: he was bound over to keep the peace by magistrates
More example sentences
  • But Samantha Leigh, prosecuting, said trouble started in 1998 when Henson received a bind over from magistrates for a common assault on Mrs Williams.
  • It can be inferred from the decision which he made to seek a bind over at that time that he had concluded, at that point at least, that there was still a risk of a continued breach of the peace.
  • Where the State meets its burden of proof at the preliminary examination on the charged crime, the court lacks authority to dismiss the charged crime and bind defendant over to stand trial on a lesser degree of the charged crime, all as more fully set forth in the opinion.
4.4 (be bound by) Be hampered or constrained by: Sarah did not want to be bound by a rigid timetable
More example sentences
  • The parties will be bound by and comply with any decision of the expert.
  • But what they have in common is the desire to express themselves musically in new ways, not being bound by what they have done in the past or what the audience may expect of them.
  • A specification ought to be an epitome of the ideal because it should describe what is required without being bound by what currently exists.
constrain, restrict, confine, restrain, tie hand and foot, tie down, shackle;
hamper, hinder, inhibit, cramp someone's style
literary trammel
5Fix together and enclose (the pages of a book) in a cover: a small, fat volume, bound in red morocco
More example sentences
  • Finally, the quires of pages are bound between two wooden covers and the spine is tied with damp leather.
  • The pages were then passed on to the next artist who worked on them and participants didn't see their work until the finished pages were bound into books.
  • She explains that she's bound the pages in red because to the Cherokee the colour symbolises wisdom through wounding.
6Trim (the edge of a piece of material) with a decorative strip: a frill with the edges bound in a contrasting colour
More example sentences
  • She used a piece of fabric, bound by a leather strip as a top, covering the front, and exposing the black dragon tattoo on her back.
  • His shoes were strange contraptions bound in metal strips and leather ties.
  • Each had a felt square, edges bound in leather, simple stirrups dangling - but there was nothing in the way of a girth to tie the pad onto the horse.
trim, hem, edge, border, fringe, rim, band;
archaic purfle
7 Logic (Of a quantifier) be applied to (a given variable) so that the variable falls within its scope. For example, in an expression of the form ‘For every x, if x is a dog, x is an animal’, the universal quantifier is binding the variable x.
Example sentences
  • In two studies in which readers' eye movements were recorded, we examined the processing of pronouns bound by universal quantifiers.
  • The formula may contain bound variables of any level.
  • When variables are specified to belong to a particular set, we say that these variables are bound.
8 Linguistics (Of a rule or set of grammatical conditions) determine the relationship between (coreferential noun phrases).
Example sentences
  • This has the consequence that where a coreferential or bound zero anaphor may occur, the use of an overt pronoun will tend to be taken to solicit disjoint reference.
  • The natural language determiner binds with a noun to form a noun phrase, and the result binds with a verb phrase to form a sentence.
  • The reflexive appears in the lowest clause, yet it binds with the subject in the highest clause.
9(Of a food or medicine) make (someone) constipated.
Example sentences
  • Fiber can bind you up if you suddenly add a lot of it to your diet.
  • And she soon learned not only that eating only bananas and sticky rice will bind you up tighter than a drum, but that the bitter leafy vegetables had better be eaten as well to make you go, like them or not.
  • Most of the time if you are prescribed a medication that could bind you up the doctor or pharmacist will let you know in advance of that possibility.


1 informal A nuisance: I know being disturbed on Christmas Day is a bind
More example sentences
  • The travel can be a bit of a bind but then you get days like one at Catterick recently when it was five-hour round trip for one ride - but it won!
  • Work is a bit of a bind at the mo ’, seem to be suffering from a bad case of post festive season wind up.
  • Seven days in a hotel can be a bit of a bind sometimes, but there is a feeling of excitement about this tour, a buzz: we all know something special is just around the corner.
nuisance, annoyance, inconvenience, bore, bother, source of irritation, irritant, problem, trial
informal pain, pain in the neck, pain in the backside, headache, hassle, drag, aggravation, pest
North American informal pain in the butt
Australian informal fair cow
Australian/New Zealand informal nark
British vulgar slang pain in the arse
dated infliction
1.1A problematical situation: he is in a political bind over the abortion issue
More example sentences
  • Two months into his second term, he is in one of the toughest political binds of his presidency.
  • Russia is in a political bind of its own creation, specifically over the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
  • With accountability so popular, however, the unions and their allies found themselves in a political bind.
predicament, awkward situation, quandary, dilemma, plight, difficult situation, cleft stick, mess, quagmire;
impasse, double bind
informal spot, tight spot, hole
2 formal A statutory constraint: the moral bind of the law
More example sentences
  • Local authorities, whilst remaining under the bind of the law, are increasingly being left to manage the industry alone, resulting in different policies across the country.
  • The mother in relation to the father is a prior untraceable trace, indeed a form of guiltless credit, which supports and underpins a moral economy developed through the property bind of the law of the father.
  • Following the logic of social control theory, it is predicted that workers would have to neutralize the bind of the law, the prohibitions against theft.
3 Music another term for tie.
Example sentences
  • The beat on which the bind begins is also indicated explicitly.
  • In old music a dot was sometimes placed at the beginning of a bar, having reference to the last note of the preceding bar; this method of writing was not convenient, as the dot might easily escape notice, and it is now superseded by the use of the bind in similar cases.
  • The employment of the bind is a necessity whenever a sound is required to be of a duration which cannot be expressed by any single note, as for example five or seven quavers.
4 another term for bine.


bind someone hand and foot

see hand.

Phrasal verbs

bind off

North American Cast off in knitting.
Example sentences
  • She scans the Craigslist Arts Forum for advice about casting on and binding off and the other unfathomable stuff you do with yarn.
  • I did just enough rounds to get the size I wanted, bound off, knit a second one, and stitched them together (don't ask me what stitch I used because I stink at finishing and I just sort of looped the stitches along all around the outside).
  • I just bound off some stitches for the armholes… so it is coming along as well.


Old English bindan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German binden, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit bandh.

Words that rhyme with bind

affined, behind, blind, find, hind, humankind, interwind, kind, mankind, mind, nonaligned, resigned, rind, unaligned, unassigned, unconfined, undefined, undersigned, undesigned, unlined, unrefined, unsigned, wynd

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bind

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