bind over

verb (used with object), bound, bind·ing.

  1. to fasten or secure with a band or bond.
  2. to encircle with a band or ligature: She bound her hair with a ribbon.
  3. to swathe or bandage (often followed by up): to bind up one’s wounds.
  4. to fasten around; fix in place by girding: They bound his hands behind him.
  5. to tie up (anything, as sheaves of grain).
  6. to cause to cohere: Ice bound the soil.
  7. to unite by any legal or moral tie: to be bound by a contract.
  8. to hold to a particular state, place, employment, etc.: Business kept him bound to the city.
  9. to place under obligation or compulsion (usually used passively): We are bound by good sense to obey the country’s laws.
  10. Law. to put under legal obligation, as to keep the peace or appear as a witness (often followed by over): This action binds them to keep the peace. He was bound over to the grand jury.
  11. to make compulsory or obligatory: to bind the order with a deposit.
  12. to fasten or secure within a cover, as a book: They will bind the new book in leather.
  13. to cover the edge of, as for protection or ornament: to bind a carpet.
  14. (of clothing) to chafe or restrict (the wearer): This shirt binds me under the arms.
  15. Medicine/Medical. to hinder or restrain (the bowels) from their natural operations; constipate.
  16. to indenture as an apprentice (often followed by out): In his youth his father bound him to a blacksmith.

verb (used without object), bound, bind·ing.

  1. to become compact or solid; cohere.
  2. to be obligatory: an obligation that binds.
  3. to chafe or restrict, as poorly fitting garments: This jacket binds through the shoulders.
  4. to stick fast, as a drill in a hole.
  5. Falconry. (of a hawk) to grapple or grasp prey firmly in flight.


  1. the act or process of binding; the state or instance of being bound.
  2. something that binds.
  3. Music. a tie, slur, or brace.
  4. Falconry. the act of binding prey in flight.
  5. Informal. a difficult situation or predicament: This schedule has us in a bind.

Verb Phrases

  1. bind off, Textiles. to loop (one stitch) over another in making an edge on knitted fabric.


  1. (tr, adverb) to place (a person) under a legal obligation, such as one to keep the peace

verb binds, binding or bound

  1. to make or become fast or secure with or as if with a tie or band
  2. (tr often foll by up) to encircle or enclose with a bandto bind the hair
  3. (tr) to place (someone) under obligation; oblige
  4. (tr) to impose legal obligations or duties upon (a person or party to an agreement)
  5. (tr) to make (a bargain, agreement, etc) irrevocable; seal
  6. (tr) to restrain or confine with or as if with ties, as of responsibility or loyalty
  7. (tr) to place under certain constraints; govern
  8. (tr often foll by up) to bandage or swatheto bind a wound
  9. to cohere or stick or cause to cohere or stickegg binds fat and flour
  10. to make or become compact, stiff, or hardfrost binds the earth
    1. (tr)to enclose and fasten (the pages of a book) between covers
    2. (intr)(of a book) to undergo this process
  11. (tr) to provide (a garment, hem, etc) with a border or edging, as for decoration or to prevent fraying
  12. (tr; sometimes foll by out or over) to employ as an apprentice; indenture
  13. (intr) slang to complain
  14. (tr) logic to bring (a variable) into the scope of an appropriate quantifierSee also bound 1 (def. 9)


  1. something that binds
  2. the act of binding or state of being bound
  3. informal a difficult or annoying situation
  4. another word for bine
  5. music another word for tie (def. 17)
  6. mining clay between layers of coal
  7. fencing a pushing movement with the blade made to force one’s opponent’s sword from one line into another
  8. chess a position in which one player’s pawns have a hold on the centre that makes it difficult for the opponent to advance there

Old English bindan “to tie up with bonds” (literally and figuratively), also “to make captive; to cover with dressings and bandages” (class III strong verb; past tense band, past participle bunden), from Proto-Germanic *bindan (cf. Old Saxon bindan, Old Norse and Old Frisian binda, Old High German binten “to bind,” German binden, Gothic bindan), from PIE root *bhendh- “to bind” (see bend). Intransitive sense of “stick together” is from 1670s. Of books, from c.1400.


“anything that binds,” in various senses, late Old English, from bind (v.). Meaning “tight or awkward situation” is from 1851.

  1. To combine with, form a bond with, or be taken up by a chemical or chemical structure. An enzyme, for example, is structured in such a way as to be able to bind with its substrate.

Oblige someone to do or not do something; hold on bail or keep under bond. For example, The sheriff will bind over the murder suspect to the homicide division. This phrase is nearly always used in a legal context. [Late 1500s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with bind

  • bind hand and foot
  • bind over

also see:

  • in a bind

Also see underbound.

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