Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

bound - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective [not usually before noun] bound pronunciation in British English /baʊnd/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    something that is bound to happen will almost certainly happen
    bound to:

    If you have problems at home, it’s bound to affect your work.

    The kids are out late, so of course she’s bound to worry.

    Knowing Jim, he’s bound to be late.

    She’s bound to find out sooner or later.

  2. 2
    having an obligation to do something because of a law, promise etc

    By signing the contract you agree to be bound by its terms.

    be bound by something to do something:

    If her patient threatens to kill someone, she is bound by law to inform the police.

    1. a.
      feeling that you should do something because you are expected to, or because it is morally right, even if you do not really want to do it
      be/feel bound to do something:

      We felt bound to tell her that her son had been taking drugs.

      duty/honour bound:

      journalists who feel honour bound to protect their sources of information

  3. 3
    a bound book has a leather, cloth, or paper cover

    a bound volume of the whole trilogy

    bound in:

    an old book of poems, bound in dark leather



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play