tie up

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tie up (third-person singular simple present ties up, present participle tying up, simple past and past participle tied up)

  1. To secure with rope, string, etc.
    Don't forget to tie up your hair before you bake.
    The robbers tied up the bank employees before forcing a way into the vault.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XIX, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      At the far end of the houses the head gardener stood waiting for his mistress, and he gave her strips of bass to tie up her nosegay. This she did slowly and laboriously, with knuckly old fingers that shook.
  2. (idiomatic) To occupy, detain, keep busy, or delay.
    He has been tying up the phone lines for hours now.
    • 1964 June 16, “Surprise Strike Stops Traffic On 6 Railroads”, in The Indianapolis Star, volume 62, number 11, Indianapolis, Ind., page 3:
      Just how much traffic was tied up was not immediately determined but in Houston about 150 cars of grain arrived yesterday and could not be transferred to the port because of the Port Terminal Railroad picketing.
  3. (idiomatic) To complete, finish, or resolve.
    I'd like to tie up the project before I leave.
  4. (finance) To immobilize a capital: make a capital investment that makes that capital unavailable.
    Don't tie up your capital in aging accounts.

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