Meaning of TIE in English


I. tie 1 S2 W3 /taɪ/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle tied , present participle tying , third person singular ties )

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: tigan ]


a) [transitive] to fasten things together or hold them in a particular position using a piece of string, rope etc OPP untie

tie something to/behind/onto etc something

Tie this label to your suitcase.

tie somebody to something

They tied him to a tree and beat him up.

tie something together (with something)

I kept all his letters tied together with a ribbon.

tie sb’s hands/arms/legs/feet

One of them tied her hands behind her back.

I tie my hair back when I’m jogging.

b) [transitive] to fasten something around, over etc something else and tie the ends together OPP untie

tie something around/over/under etc something

He had only a towel tied around his waist.

She tied a scarf over her head.

c) [transitive] to make a knot in a piece of string, rope etc, for example to fasten shoes or other clothes:

Can you tie your shoelaces by yourself?

tie a knot/bow

She pulled the ribbon tightly and tied a bow.

d) [intransitive] if a piece of clothing ties in a particular place, you fasten it there using a belt, ↑ bow etc:

This dress ties at the back.

2 . GAME/COMPETITION [intransitive] ( also be tied ) if two players, teams etc tie or are tied in a game or competition, they finish it with an equal number of points

tie with

At the end of the season, we were tied with the Tigers.

tie for first/second etc place

Woosnam and Lyle tied for fourth place on 264.

3 . be tied to something to be related to something and dependent on it:

The flat is tied to the job.

Interest rates are tied to the rate of inflation.

4 . be tied to/by something to be restricted by a particular situation, job etc, so that you cannot do exactly what you want:

Many women felt tied to the house.

be tied to doing something

I didn’t want to be tied to commuting to London.

With children, you’re tied by school holidays.

5 . tie the knot informal to get married

6 . tie yourself (up) in knots informal to become very upset because you are confused, nervous, or worried

7 . tie one on American English informal to get drunk

⇨ sb’s hands are tied at ↑ hand 1 (43)

• • •


▪ fasten to join together the two sides of a piece of clothing, bag, belt etc:

He fastened the necklace behind her neck.

▪ attach to fasten something firmly to another object or surface, using screws, nails, tape, glue etc:

The boards were attached with screws.


The prisoner was attached to the wall with chains.

▪ join to connect or fasten things together:

Join the pieces using a strong glue

▪ glue to join things together using glue:

Glue the fabric to the white card.

▪ tape to fasten something using tape:

The students' name cards were taped to the table.

▪ staple to fasten something using ↑ staple s (=a small piece of wire that is pressed through paper using a special machine) :

Don't staple your resumé to your cover letter.

▪ clip to fasten things together using a ↑ clip (=a small metal object) :

A photo was clipped to the letter.

▪ tie to fasten a tie, shoelaces etc by making a knot:

Don't forget to tie your shoelaces!

▪ do something up especially British English to fasten a piece of clothing or the buttons etc on it:

The teacher doesn't have time to do up every child's coat.


Let me do it up for you.

▪ button (up) to fasten a shirt, coat etc with buttons:

His shirt was buttoned right to the top.

▪ zip (up) to fasten a piece of clothing, a bag etc with a ↑ zip :

Zip up your jacket, it's cold.

▪ buckle (up) to fasten a seat belt, belt, shoe etc that has a ↑ buckle (=small metal object that fits through a hole in a strap) :

The little girl struggled to buckle her shoes.

▪ unfasten/untie/undo/unbutton/unzip to open something that is fastened:

Do not unfasten your seatbelt until the car has stopped completely.

tie somebody down phrasal verb

to restrict someone’s freedom to do what they want to do:

She didn’t want to be tied down by a full-time job.

tie somebody down to

Are you ready to be tied down to a wife and children?

tie in with something phrasal verb

1 . to be similar to another idea, statement etc, so that they seem to be true SYN match :

Her description tied in with that of the other witness.

2 . ( also be tied in with something ) to be related in some way to something else:

How does all this tie in with their long-term aims?

3 . to happen at the same time as something else:

The book was published to tie in with the TV series.

tie up phrasal verb

1 . PERSON tie somebody ↔ up to tie someone’s arms, legs etc so that they cannot move SYN bind :

The intruders tied Kurt up and left him.

2 . OBJECT tie something ↔ up to fasten something together, using string, rope etc:

He tied up all the old newspapers.

3 . BUSY be tied up to be very busy, so that you cannot do anything else:

I can’t see you tomorrow – I’ll be tied up all day.

4 . TRAFFIC/PHONE/COURT ETC tie something ↔ up especially American English to block a system or use it so much that other people cannot use it or it does not work effectively ⇨ tie-up :

Don’t tie up the phone lines making personal calls.

Protesters tied up the traffic for three hours today.

5 . MONEY be tied up if your money is tied up in something, it is all being used for that thing and is not available for anything else

be tied up in

My money’s all tied up in the house.

6 . ARRANGEMENTS tie something ↔ up to finish arranging all the details of something such as an agreement or a plan SYN finalize :

We’d better tie up the details with a solicitor.

7 . be tied up with something to be very closely related to something SYN be linked to :

The shortage of teachers is tied up with the issue of pay.

8 . tie up loose ends to do the things that are necessary in order to finish a piece of work:

I need to tie up a few loose ends before I go on vacation.

9 . ANIMAL tie something ↔ up to tie an animal to something with a rope, chain etc SYN tether

tie something ↔ up to

She left the dog tied up to a tree.

10 . BOAT to tie a boat to something with a rope, chain etc SYN moor :

We tied up alongside a barge.

tie something ↔ up

There was a boat tied up at the jetty.

II. tie 2 S3 W3 BrE AmE noun [countable]

1 . MEN’S CLOTHES a long narrow piece of cloth tied in a knot around the neck, worn by men:

I wear a shirt and tie at work.

⇨ ↑ black-tie , ↑ bow tie

2 . CONNECTION/RELATIONSHIP [usually plural] a strong relationship between people, groups, or countries

close/strong ties

the importance of strong family ties

tie between/with

close ties between the two countries

economic/diplomatic/personal etc ties

Japan’s strong economic ties with Taiwan

the ties of marriage/friendship/love etc ⇨ ↑ old school tie

3 . RESULT [usually singular] the result of a game, competition, or election when two or more people or teams get the same number of points, votes etc SYN draw British English :

The match ended in a tie.

4 . FOR CLOSING SOMETHING a piece of string, wire etc used to fasten or close something such as a bag

5 . GAME British English one game, especially of football, that is part of a larger competition

tie against

England’s World Cup tie against Argentina

first round/second round etc tie

home/away tie

6 . PREVENT YOU FROM DOING SOMETHING something that means you must stay in one place, job etc or prevents you from being free to do what you want:

If you enjoy travelling, young children can be a tie.

7 . RAILWAY American English a heavy piece of wood or metal supporting a railway track SYN sleeper British English

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)


▪ close/strong ties

He had developed close ties with many Republican governors.

▪ family/blood ties

Family ties have been weakened by older people living apart from their children.

▪ personal ties

Strong personal ties connect her to the area.

▪ emotional ties

He was a loner who failed to develop emotional ties with other people.

▪ economic ties

Japan and South Korea have close economic ties.

▪ diplomatic ties

the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries

▪ social ties

Besides marriage, other social ties drew people together.

■ phrases

▪ ties of marriage/friendship/blood etc

The ties of friendship that unite the two countries.

■ verbs

▪ maintain/develop ties

The U.S. is committed to maintaining close ties with Europe.

▪ establish ties

Israel established full diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1994.

▪ cut/sever ties

He said that he planned to sever his ties with the club.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.