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  1. simple past tense and past participle of bind.
  1. tied; in bonds: a bound prisoner.
  2. made fast as if by a band or bond: She is bound to her family.
  3. secured within a cover, as a book.
  4. under a legal or moral obligation: He is bound by the terms of the contract.
  5. destined; sure; certain: It is bound to happen.
  6. determined or resolved: He is bound to go.
  7. Pathology. constipated.
  8. Mathematics. (of a vector) having a specified initial point as well as magnitude and direction.Compare free(def 32).
  9. held with another element, substance, or material in chemical or physical union.
  10. (of a linguistic form) occurring only in combination with other forms, as most affixes.Compare free(def 35).
  1. bound up in/with,
    1. inseparably connected with.
    2. devoted or attached to: She is bound up in her teaching.

Origin of bound1

past participle and past tense of bind
Related formsbound·ness, noun


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5. liable, obligated, obliged, compelled.


verb (used without object)
  1. to move by leaps; leap; jump; spring: The colt bounded through the meadow.
  2. to rebound, as a ball; bounce: The ball bounded against the wall.
  1. a leap onward or upward; jump.
  2. a rebound; bounce.

Origin of bound2

1545–55; < Middle French bond a leap, bondir to leap, orig. resound ≪ Vulgar Latin *bombitīre for *bombitāre to buzz, whiz (Latin bomb(us) (see bomb) + -it- intensive suffix + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive suffix)
Related formsbound·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedbind bound


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1. See skip1.


  1. Usually bounds. limit or boundary: the bounds of space and time; within the bounds of his estate; within the bounds of reason.
  2. something that limits, confines, or restrains.
  3. bounds,
    1. territories on or near a boundary.
    2. land within boundary lines.
  4. Mathematics. a number greater than or equal to, or less than or equal to, all the numbers in a given set.Compare greatest lower bound, least upper bound, lower bound, upper bound.
verb (used with object)
  1. to limit by or as if by bounds; keep within limits or confines.
  2. to form the boundary or limit of.
  3. to name or list the boundary of.
verb (used without object)
  1. to abut.
  1. out of bounds,
    1. beyond the official boundaries, prescribed limits, or restricted area: The ball bounced out of bounds.
    2. forbidden; prohibited: The park is out of bounds to students.

Origin of bound3

1175–1225; Middle English bounde < Anglo-French; Old French bone, bonde, variant of bodne < Medieval Latin budina, of uncertain origin; cf. bourn2
Related formsbound·a·ble, adjective


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1. border, frontier, confine.


  1. going or intending to go; on the way to; destined (usually followed by for): The train is bound for Denver.
  2. Archaic. prepared; ready.

Origin of bound4

1150–1200; Middle English b(o)un ready < Old Norse būinn, past participle of būa to get ready


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.

Origin of bind

before 1000; Middle English binden (v.), Old English bindan; cognate with Old High German bintan, Old Norse binda, Gothic bindan, Sanskrit bandhati (he) binds
Related formsbind·a·ble, adjectivemis·bind, verb, mis·bound, mis·bind·ing.re·bind, verb, re·bound, re·bind·ing.
Can be confusedbind bound


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1. gird, attach, tie. 2. confine, restrain. 9. engage, oblige, obligate.


1. untie.


  1. a combining form of bound1: snowbound.


  1. a combining form of bound4: eastbound.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bound

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I am bound to him by ties stronger than usually bind the hearts of women.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Moreover, Master Hansen bound, as well as printed his books.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • I knew those fellows inside were bound to hammer it down if they could.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I don't want to trouble him, but I was bound he shouldn't keep from me what was rightly my due.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • But, bound as he was, we can understand why they looked in vain.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for bound


  1. the past tense and past participle of bind
  1. in bonds or chains; tied with or as if with a ropea bound prisoner
  2. (in combination) restricted; confinedhousebound; fogbound
  3. (postpositive , foll by an infinitive) destined; sure; certainit's bound to happen
  4. (postpositive, often foll by by) compelled or obliged to act, behave, or think in a particular way, as by duty, circumstance, or convention
  5. (of a book) secured within a cover or bindingto deliver bound books See also half-bound
  6. (postpositive, foll by on) US resolved; determinedbound on winning
  7. linguistics
    1. denoting a morpheme, such as the prefix non-, that occurs only as part of another word and not as a separate word in itselfCompare free (def. 21)
    2. (in systemic grammar) denoting a clause that has a nonfinite predicator or that is introduced by a binder, and that occurs only together with a freestanding clauseCompare freestanding
  8. logic (of a variable) occurring within the scope of a quantifier that indicates the degree of generality of the open sentence in which the variable occurs: in (x) (Fxbxy), x is bound and y is freeSee free (def. 22)
  9. bound up with closely or inextricably linked withhis irritability is bound up with his work
  10. I'll be bound I am sure (something) is true


  1. to move forwards or make (one's way) by leaps or jumps
  2. to bounce; spring away from an impact
  1. a jump upwards or forwards
  2. by leaps and bounds with unexpectedly rapid progessher condition improved by leaps and bounds
  3. a sudden pronounced sense of excitementhis heart gave a sudden bound when he saw her
  4. a bounce, as of a ball

Word Origin

C16: from Old French bond a leap, from bondir to jump, resound, from Vulgar Latin bombitīre (unattested) to buzz, hum, from Latin bombus booming sound


  1. (tr) to place restrictions on; limit
  2. (when intr, foll by on) to form a boundary of (an area of land or sea, political or administrative region, etc)
  1. maths
    1. a number which is greater than all the members of a set of numbers (an upper bound), or less than all its members (a lower bound)See also bounded (def. 1)
    2. more generally, an element of an ordered set that has the same ordering relation to all the members of a given subset
    3. whence, an estimate of the extent of some set
  2. See bounds

Word Origin

C13: from Old French bonde, from Medieval Latin bodina, of Gaulish origin


    1. (postpositive, often foll by for)going or intending to go towards; on the way toa ship bound for Jamaica; homeward bound
    2. (in combination)northbound traffic

Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse buinn, past participle of būa to prepare


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
See also bind over

Word Origin

Old English bindan; related to Old Norse binda, Old High German bintan, Latin offendix band ², Sanskrit badhnāti he binds
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bound


"to leap," 1580s, from French bondir "to rebound, resound, echo," from Old French bondir "to leap, rebound; make a noise, beat (a drum)," 13c., ultimately "to echo back," from Vulgar Latin *bombitire "to buzz, hum" (see bomb (n.)), perhaps on model of Old French tentir, from Vulgar Latin *tinnitire.


"fastened," mid-14c., in figurative sense of "compelled," from bounden, past participle of bind (v.). Meaning "under obligation" is from late 15c.; the literal sense "made fast by tying" is the latest recorded (1550s).


"ready to go," c.1200, boun, from Old Norse buinn past participle of bua "to prepare," also "to dwell, to live," from Proto-Germanic *bowan (cf. Old High German buan "to dwell," Old Danish both "dwelling, stall"), from PIE root *bheue- "to be, exist, dwell" (see be). Final -d is presumably through association with bound (adj.1).


"limit," c.1200, from Anglo-Latin bunda, from Old French bonde "limit, boundary, boundary stone" (12c., Modern French borne), variant of bodne, from Medieval Latin bodina, perhaps from Gaulish. Now chiefly in out of bounds, which originally referred to limits imposed on students at schools.


"to form the boundary of," also "to set the boundaries of," late 14c., from bound (n.). Related: Bounded; bounding.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bound in Science


  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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with bound


In addition to the idioms beginning with bound

also see:

Also see underbind.

In addition to the idioms beginning with bind

also see:

Also see underbound.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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