Definition of tie someone up in US English:

tie someone up

phrasal verb

  • 1Bind 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’
    • ‘They'd tied her up with cables, which looked too strong to move.’
    • ‘They tied them up and moved them to a part of the building adjacent to the canal bank where they remained bound with tape.’
    • ‘They thought I was a spy and tied me up again, quite a bit more securely than last time.’
    • ‘Then we escaped and tied him up but he escaped and took the wagon and left.’
    • ‘The robbers held them at gunpoint and tied them up before escaping with a substantial amount of jewellery.’
    • ‘Alan was going to subdue him and tie Paul up with the rope he had taken off Kirby.’
    • ‘He didn't expect to tie her up, but the ropes went around her wrists so easily.’
    • ‘I woke up, and after a moment realized that I wasn't tied up, and that I was moving.’
    • ‘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.’
    bind, tie up, tether, hitch, strap, truss, fetter, rope, chain, make fast, moor, lash, attach, fasten, fix, secure, join, connect, link, couple
    bind, tie, tether, hitch, strap, truss, fetter, rope, chain, make fast, moor, lash, attach, fasten, fix, secure
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    1. 1.1usually be tied upinformal Occupy someone to the exclusion of any other activity.
      ‘she would be tied up at the meeting all day’
      • ‘It seems to be trying to spin out the process of weapons inspections for as long as possible, tying America up in a web of reports, discussions and UN diplomats.’
      • ‘They don't take part in all the trial proceedings not because they are lazy but because they are tied up with other engagements.’
      • ‘If you are tied up on Hallowe'en you can still help out!’
      • ‘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, busy, keep busy, book, reserve, commit
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