Being “tied up”


Confessions of the Linguistic Spy

to be tied up meaning Photo credit: irez.me

This week I learnt another useful phrase – it was in an email rather than in a conversation, but it doesn’t make it less authentic, I’m sure. I was going to arrange to speak to somebody on Skype to save us sending each other another half a dozen of emails. I mentioned I could call right not, but the reply was ‘I’m tied up at the moment, shall we Skype later today?’

The meaning is quite obvious, really, but I think it’s one of those ubiquitous (but handy!) phrasal verbs that can express so much in so few words!

Some more useful examples:

– Oh, is it eleven o’clock already? I got so tied up with sending out these invitations that I didn’t even notice (phrasemix.com).

– Sorry, I’m kind of tied up at the moment. Can I call you back? (phrasemix.com).

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