What Does Tie the Knot Mean?

Tie the Knot Meaning

Definition: To get married.

Another expression for getting married is getting hitched.

Origin of Tie the Knot

This expression is an abbreviated form of one that first appeared in the 16th century. The original expression was to tie a knot with one’s tongue that one cannot untie with one’s teeth.

This was the way it appeared in it first few print sources, including John Ray’s 1670 proverb collection.

The analogy refers to the metaphorical knot binding two married people together. If this knot were made of chord or rope, it could be untied by using one’s teeth. In other words, when you are tying the knot (getting married), you are tying the knot that cannot be untied.

In Modern English, however, only the phrase tie the knot remains as a cliché to refer to those getting married.

Examples of Tie the Knot

tied the knot meaningIn this example, two friends are discussing an upcoming wedding.

Cassie: Hey! Did you hear the news? Rich just proposed to Catherine!

Rebecca: Wow! Finally. I thought that they would do that soon. They’ve been in love for so long.

Cassie: Yeah. They’re planning on tying the knot in July of this year. Are you able to attend the wedding?

Rebecca: I hope so! I don’t think I have anything else planned.

what does to tie the knot meanIn the dialogue below, two men are traveling in Korea and are discussing some of the differences between Korean weddings and Western weddings.

Antonio: I’m glad we came to this wedding! It was so nice of the bride to invite us. It’s different than I expected.

Igor: Yeah. There are a lot of things that are the same between tying the knot here versus back home. For example, the wedding dresses look similar.  But there are also more differences than I realized. Almost everyone is giving money as a gift.

Antonio: I like that tradition.

More Examples

The article excerpt is about newlyweds who became infected with a brain parasite. They felt healthy during the actual wedding, but fell ill shortly afterwards.

  • Eliza Lape and Ben Manilla traveled to Hawaii to tie the knot, but they began feeling ill just as they were preparing to return home. –New York Daily News

This quote is about two characters on a show getting married. Their wedding takes place in the first episode of the season.

  • Real-life exes Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and Kaley Cuoco, (Penny) tie the knot in the tenth season opener of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ –New York Daily News


The phrase tie the knot is another way to say that two people are getting married.