Tide vs. Tied – What’s the Difference?

English contains many homophones, words that are pronounced identically, or nearly identically, but do not mean the same thing.

Tide and tied are two examples of English homophones. They sound the same when spoken aloud, but they are spelled differently and are actually different parts of speech.

Since these words are different parts of speech, they are not readily interchangeable, and it’s important to know when to use each word.

What is the Difference Between Tide and Tied?

In this post, I will compare tide vs. tied. I will use each word in an example sentence to demonstrate its proper use and context.

Plus, at the end, I will outline an easy memory trick to use when you can’t decide whether you mean tide or tied.

When to Use Tide

tide versus tied What does tide mean? Tide is a noun. The tide is the periodic rise and fall of the sea, in concert with the gravitational pull of the moon as it orbits the earth.

Tide is also used metaphorically to refer to any unstoppable progression.

Here are some examples,

  • The shoreline disappeared as the tide rose and covered the entire beach, all the way up to the rock wall.
  • A tide of populism swept across the West, much to the consternation of those who opposed it.
  • At low tide, many fascinating creatures can be found within the ecosystems of coastal tidepools.
  • OPEC’s recent agreement to limit crude production is unleashing a tide of speculative bets on rising oil prices, raising the prospect that the oil market could reverse suddenly if the group fails to deliver. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Tied

Definition of tied definition and definition of tide definition What does tied mean? Tied can be an adjective or a verb.

As an adjective, tied means restrained by a rope or cord.

As a verb, tied is the past tense form of the verb to tie, which means to restrain using a rope or cord.

Here are some examples,

  • When Farmer John saw the mess his hogs had made of the barnyard, he was fit to be tied.
  • After the bandit tied the sheriff to a wooden chair, she held a gun to his head and whispered, “You should’ve married me when you had the chance.”
  • Shannon tied the boat up at the dock and went to the fish fry with Errol.

Tied can also refer to the score of a sporting event in which both teams have the same score.

  • Entering the game, Washington was tied for first in the league allowing 2.06 goals per game, but its offense had slumped at times this season. –The Washington Post

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define tied and define tide Here is a helpful trick to remember tide vs. tied.

Tied is a verb that forms the past tense of to tie. Out of these two words, only one can have a letter removed from its end and still make sense. This is trademark sign of verbs: as they are conjugated, they change forms.

So, while you can take away the last letter in tied, you can’t take away the last letter in tide.

  • Tid is not a word.
  • Tie is a word.

Since nouns do not change forms in the same way that verbs do, you can remember that tied is a verb.


Is it tide or tied? Tide and tied are homophones, but they are different parts of speech.

  • Tide is a noun that refers to the rise and fall of the sea.
  • Tied is the past tense form of tie.

You can remember that tied is a verb because of the way it is conjugated, and nouns are not conjugated like verbs.

If you require additional guidance, be sure to check this site for a quick refresher.