Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[tahy] /taɪ/
verb (used with object), tied, tying.
to bind, fasten, or attach with a cord, string, or the like, drawn together and knotted:
to tie a tin can on a dog's tail.
to draw together the parts of with a knotted string or the like:
to tie a bundle tight.
to fasten by tightening and knotting the string or strings of:
to tie one's shoes.
to draw or fasten together into a knot, as a cord:
to tie one's shoelace.
to form by looping and interlacing, as a knot or bow.
to fasten, join, or connect in any way.
Angling. to design and make (an artificial fly).
to bind or join closely or firmly:
Great affection tied them.
Informal. to unite in marriage.
to confine, restrict, or limit:
The weather tied him to the house.
to bind or oblige, as to do something.
to make the same score as; equal in a contest.
Music. to connect (notes) by a tie.
verb (used without object), tied, tying.
to make a tie, bond, or connection.
to make or be the same score; be equal in a contest:
The teams tied for first place in the league.
that with which anything is tied.
a cord, string, or the like, used for tying, fastening, binding, or wrapping something.
a necktie.
a low shoe fastened with a lace.
a knot, especially an ornamental one; bow.
anything that fastens, secures, or unites.
a bond or connection, as of affection, kinship, mutual interest, or between two or more people, groups, nations, or the like:
family ties; the ties between Britain and the U.S.
a state of equality in the result of a contest, as in points scored, votes obtained, etc., among competitors:
The game ended in a tie.
a match or contest in which this occurs.
any of various structural members, as beams or rods, for keeping two objects, as rafters or the haunches of an arch, from spreading or separating.
Music. a curved line connecting two notes on the same line or space to indicate that the sound is to be sustained for their joint value, not repeated.
Also called, especially British, sleeper. Railroads. any of a number of closely spaced transverse beams, usually of wood, for holding the rails forming a track at the proper distance from each other and for transmitting train loads to the ballast and roadbed.
bride2 (def 1).
Surveying. a measurement made to determine the position of a survey station with respect to a reference mark or other isolated point.
Verb phrases
tie down, to limit one's activities; confine; curtail:
He finds that a desk job ties him down.
tie in,
  1. to connect or be connected; be consistent:
    His story ties in with the facts.
  2. Surveying. to establish the position of (a point not part of a survey control).
  3. to make a tie-in, especially in advertising or a sale:
    The paperback book is tied in with the movie of the same title.
tie off, to tie a cord or suture around (a vein, blood vessel, or the like) so as to stop the flow within.
tie up,
  1. to fasten securely by tying.
  2. to wrap; bind.
  3. to hinder; impede.
  4. to bring to a stop; make inactive.
  5. to invest or place (money) in such a way as to render unavailable for other uses.
  6. to place (property) under such conditions or restrictions as to prevent sale or alienation.
  7. to moor a ship.
  8. to engage or occupy completely:
    I can't see you now, I'm all tied up.
tie one on, Slang. to get drunk:
Charlie sure tied one on last night!
tie the knot. knot1 (def 18).
Origin of tie
before 900; (noun) Middle English te(i)gh cord, rope, Old English tēagh, tēgh, cognate with Old Norse taug rope; (v.) Middle English tien, Old English tīgan, derivative of the noun; compare Old Norse teygja to draw. See tug, tow1
Related forms
retie, verb (used with object), retied, retying.
undertie, noun
undertie, verb (used with object), undertied, undertying.
well-tied, adjective
6. unite, link, knit, yoke, lock. 11. obligate, constrain. 17. rope, band, ligature. 18. cravat. 22. See bond1 .
1. loose, loosen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for tied up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were tied up in sheets, and my own impression is that they were stolen.

    A Surgeon in Belgium Henry Sessions Souttar
  • These they tied up in a bundle, after each had secured one for his own use.

    The Wild Man of the West R.M. Ballantyne
  • He scarcely needed anything more—not even his traveling cloak, which lay bundled unnoticed in a corner, tied up in its many knots.

    The Little Lame Prince Dinah Maria Mulock
  • A stone with two lumps of iron are tied up to sink the child.

  • They kept me tied up behind the door by day, and let me loose at night.

    The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
British Dictionary definitions for tied up


verb ties, tying, tied
when tr, often foll by up. to fasten or be fastened with string, thread, etc
to make (a knot or bow) in (something): to tie a knot, tie a ribbon
(transitive) to restrict or secure
to equal the score of a competitor or fellow candidate
(transitive) (informal) to unite in marriage
  1. to execute (two successive notes of the same pitch) as though they formed one note of composite time value
  2. to connect (two printed notes) with a tie
(slang) fit to be tied, very angry or upset
a bond, link, or fastening
a restriction or restraint
a string, wire, ribbon, etc, with which something is tied
a long narrow piece of material worn, esp by men, under the collar of a shirt, tied in a knot close to the throat with the ends hanging down the front US name necktie
  1. an equality in score, attainment, etc, in a contest
  2. the match or competition in which such a result is attained
a structural member carrying tension, such as a tie beam or tie rod
(sport, Brit) a match or game in an eliminating competition: a cup tie
(usually pl) a shoe fastened by means of laces
the US and Canadian name for sleeper (sense 3)
(music) a slur connecting two notes of the same pitch indicating that the sound is to be prolonged for their joint time value
(surveying) one of two measurements running from two points on a survey line to a point of detail to fix its position
(lacemaking) another name for bride2
See also tie in, tie up
Word Origin
Old English tīgan to tie; related to Old Norse teygja to draw, stretch out, Old English tēon to pull; see tug, tow1, tight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for tied up



"that with which anything is tied," Old English teag, from Proto-Germanic *taugo (cf. Old Norse taug "tie," tygill "string"), from PIE *deuk- "to pull, to lead" (cf. Old English teon "to draw, pull, drag;" see duke (n.)).

Figurative sense is recorded from 1550s. Meaning "equality between competitors" is first found 1670s, from notion of a connecting link (tie-breaker is recorded from 1961). Sense of "necktie, cravat" first recorded 1761. The railway sense of "transverse sleeper" is from 1857, American English.


Old English tigan, tiegan, from the source of tie (n.). Related: Tied; tying. Tie-dye first attested 1904. Tie one on "get drunk" is recorded from 1951. In the noun sense of "connection," tie-in dates from 1934.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for tied up

tie a bag on

verb phrase

To go on a drinking spree; get drunk: You still tie a bag on now and again (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Related Abbreviations for tied up


Telemedicine Information Exchange
Treatment Improvement Exchange
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with tied up

tied up

see: tie up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tie

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tied

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tied up