[lig-uh-cher, -choo r]
See more synonyms for ligature on
  1. the act of binding or tying up: The ligature of the artery was done with skill.
  2. anything that serves for binding or tying up, as a band, bandage, or cord.
  3. a tie or bond: the ligature of mutual need that bound them together.
  4. Printing, Orthography. a stroke or bar connecting two letters.
  5. Printing. a character or type combining two or more letters, as and ƕ.
  6. Music.
    1. slur.
    2. a group of notes connected by a slur.
    3. a metal band for securing the reed of a clarinet or saxophone to the mouthpiece.
  7. Surgery. a thread or wire for constriction of blood vessels or for removing tumors by strangulation.
verb (used with object), lig·a·tured, lig·a·tur·ing.
  1. to bind with a ligature; tie up; ligate.

Origin of ligature

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Late Latin word ligātūra. See ligate, -ure
Related formsun·lig·a·tured, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ligature

nexus, binding, bandage, rope, band, connection, yoke, knot, tie, bond, ligament

Examples from the Web for ligature

Contemporary Examples of ligature

Historical Examples of ligature

British Dictionary definitions for ligature


  1. the act of binding or tying up
  2. something used to bind
  3. a link, bond, or tie
  4. surgery a thread or wire for tying around a vessel, duct, etc, as for constricting the flow of blood to a part
  5. printing a character of two or more joined letters, such as, fl, ffi, ffl
  6. music
    1. a slur or the group of notes connected by it
    2. (in plainsong notation) a symbol indicating two or more notes grouped together
  1. (tr) to bind with a ligature; ligate

Word Origin for ligature

C14: from Late Latin ligātūra, ultimately from Latin ligāre to bind
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 ligature

c.1400, "something used in tying or binding," from Middle French ligature (14c.), from Late Latin ligatura "a band," from Latin ligatus, past participle of ligare "to bind" (see ligament). In musical notation from 1590s; of letters joined in printing or writing from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ligature in Medicine


[lĭgə-chur′, -chər]
  1. The act of tying or binding.
  2. A cord, wire, or bandage used in surgery to close vessels or tie off ducts.
  3. A thread, wire, or cord used in surgery to close vessels or tie off ducts.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.