that binds; restrictive.
having power to bind or oblige; obligatory: a binding promise.

Origin of binding

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at bind, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsbind·ing·ly, adverbbind·ing·ness, nounnon·bind·ing, adjectivenon·bind·ing·ly, adverbnon·bind·ing·ness, noun



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

to fasten or secure with a band or bond.
to encircle with a band or ligature: She bound her hair with a ribbon.
to swathe or bandage (often followed by up): to bind up one's wounds.
to fasten around; fix in place by girding: They bound his hands behind him.
to tie up (anything, as sheaves of grain).
to cause to cohere: Ice bound the soil.
to unite by any legal or moral tie: to be bound by a contract.
to hold to a particular state, place, employment, etc.: Business kept him bound to the city.
to place under obligation or compulsion (usually used passively): We are bound by good sense to obey the country's laws.
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.
to make compulsory or obligatory: to bind the order with a deposit.
to fasten or secure within a cover, as a book: They will bind the new book in leather.
to cover the edge of, as for protection or ornament: to bind a carpet.
(of clothing) to chafe or restrict (the wearer): This shirt binds me under the arms.
Medicine/Medical. to hinder or restrain (the bowels) from their natural operations; constipate.
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.

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


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

Verb Phrases

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··bind, verb, re·bound, re·bind·ing.
Can be confusedbind bound

Synonyms for bind

Antonyms for bind

1. untie. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for binding

Contemporary Examples of binding

Historical Examples of binding

British Dictionary definitions for binding



anything that binds or fastens
the covering within which the pages of a book are bound
the material or tape used for binding hems, etc


imposing an obligation or dutya binding promise
causing hindrance; restrictive


verb binds, binding or bound

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


something that binds
the act of binding or state of being bound
informal a difficult or annoying situation
another word for bine
music another word for tie (def. 17)
mining clay between layers of coal
fencing a pushing movement with the blade made to force one's opponent's sword from one line into another
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 for bind

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 binding

mid-13c., verbal noun from bind (v.). Meaning "thing that binds" is from c.1300; "state of being bound" is from late 14c. Meaning "covering of a book" is recorded from 1640s.



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

binding in Science



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 binding


In addition to the idioms beginning with bind

  • bind hand and foot
  • bind over

also see:

  • in a bind

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.