tie, bind

Quick Summary

The Latin root lig and its variants li and ly mean “tie.” This Latin root is the word origin of a good number of English vocabulary words, including ligament, reliable and rely. The root lig is easily recalled via the word obligation, for an obligation “ties” you to the doing of something.

Big Lig Ties

The Latin root lig and its variants li and ly mean “tie.” After today’s reliable podcast you will no longer feel obliged to look up words with lig, li and ly in them!

We all have obligations or duties that we must fulfill that “tie” us down. We are happily obliged to help family members when they are sick, for instance. Many religious people who practice a religion, a cultural activity which “ties” us back to our ultimate spiritual origin, are obliging when it comes to “tying” help towards others in need. If someone has torn a ligament, or bodily tissue that “ties” together bones, you might be obliging in helping that person get to the hospital.

With slight spelling variants recognized, the National Football League is a “tying” together of thirty-two different football teams. Those teams’ fans have an allegiance to them; for instance, I might have formed an allegiance or “tying” towards the Green Bay Packers if I had grown up in Wisconsin, where the Packers are based.

The root lig also has spelling variants in li and ly. When you rely on someone to do something for you, you can confidently “tie” yourself back to that person’s aid; you consider that person to be reliable, or capable of being “tied” back to. This person might also be an ally of yours, someone to whom you “tie” yourself; hence, you have formed an alliance with this person, a “tying” towards him. If two companies have formed an alliance between themselves for their mutual benefit, they have probably hired a liaison who strives to create a beneficial and communicative “tie” between those two businesses.

Phew! I will now no longer be held liable for not teaching you the ins and outs of lig, li and ly! Much obliged to have done so.

  1. obligation: condition of being “tied” to
  2. obliged: “tied” to
  3. religious: of a “tying” back to one’s origins
  4. religion: the activity of “tying” back to one’s origins
  5. obliging: “tying” help towards others
  6. ligament: band of tissue which “ties” bones together or “binds” organs in place
  7. league: a “tying” together of sports teams
  8. allegiance: condition of being “tied” to a specific cause or team
  9. rely: to “tie” back to
  10. reliable: capable of being “tied” back to
  11. ally: one to whom you “tie” yourself
  12. alliance: condition of being “tied” to someone
  13. liaison: one who creates social and business “ties” between organizations
  14. liable: capable of being “tied” to


  • obliging

    Someone who is obliging is very helpful towards other people, being eager to do them favors or offer them assistance.

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