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Re: The ties that bind

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 26, 2007

In Reply to: Re: The ties that bind posted by Bruce Kahl on September 26, 2007

: : What's the origin of the phrase "The ties that bind"?

: "As long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all will be well."

: From the AA Big Book

I'm not sure about the above quote. "...those [ties] that tear us apart"? Well, maybe. The AA would know.

Once again, that word, origin. Since it's plain English, not an idiom, it's probably a vain endeavor to pin down the first person to use the phrase and start it on its journey to clichédom.
The ties are, in the first instance, family ties; then family-like ties. We are bound together by what we have in common.

In its other form, the tie that binds, it is also well-known, usually but not always followed by a construction of some sort, as in the old hymn used by Thornton Wilder in "Our Town." The hymn, appearing three times in the play, was popular in both England and America, and doubtless helped put the phrase (in one version) in the minds of millions.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

[Several more verses follow.]

I don't know which form came first. Both have been used as movie titles, Ties that Bind in 1995, the second for a short film by Angela Gibbs.
SS