Any individual who is social will once in their life encounter an annoying person of the opposite sex. Even when the social person gives hints to get rid of such annoyances, the individual will remain as a boulder and not budge. What could the social person do to get rid of such annoyances? Individuals who are into the Harry Potter series may already know of the vanishing spell of “Evanesco.” Despondently, this action is only possible in fiction. However, in current society a few words have been found to make annoying people of the opposite sex disappear. Those vanishing words are “Let’s tie the knot.” Comically, in a world where it seems like there are more divorces than marriages, one may conclude that this idiom may not be as meaningful as it used to be. The reason for this phrase’s lack of significant meaning has to be because of its weak sentence structure that lacks detail, and the fact that there are so many different relations between the figurative and literal meaning.
Looking the idiom through its literal meaning, the definition of a knot is the “compact intersection of interlaced material, such as cord, ribbons, or rope” (“Knot”). Looking at that definition, it is possible to see that a knot may not occur without some type of interlace material. Now that the definition of a knot is clarified, all that is left is to simplify the meaning of the word “tie.” To tie is “to fasten by drawing together the parts or sides and knotting with strings or laces” (Knot). What can be concluded from these two definitions is that they both go together because one cannot tie without making a knot, and one cannot have a knot without the process of tying.
With the knowledge of what the idiom’s literal meaning is, how does the question “Want to tie the knot?” translate into everyday life? What may at first look like a dumb and irrelevant question, may actually result in an important and very relevant life decision. A knot has more than the simple job of holding the common man’s shoe-lace or holding a trash bag’s material from spilling. For instance, a double sheel bend is a complex knot that is obviously strong, but is one that takes time to learn. This knot is used to hold down objects together for long periods of times. A bowline is one of the most useful and simple knots used; this knot is strong when there is strain on it, but it becomes loose when no strain is applied. This knot is important because it could be the difference of one day having a yacht or it drifting into the vast sea. Finally, the overhand knot is probably one of the most common knots known to man. It is a nuisance to undo and is not nearly as strong as any other knots. This is the irritating knot that most people will encounter when they first learn how to tie their shoes. By replacing the word “knot” with the more specific type, the idiom gains more meaning.
When someone thinks about marriage, no one imagines the interlocking of rope, chains, or any other type of interlaced material, unless the couple is into that. However, history says otherwise. History says that actual knots were used in marriage ceremonies during the 13thcentury in Middle English (“Tie the Knot”). Although many may think that the phrase “to tie the knot” may have originated “from the nets of knotted string which supported beds prior to the introduction of metal-sprung bedframes,” the theory is not supported by any evidence (“Tie the Knot”).Whatever the case may be, the meaning is well-known by many people in the United States and the United Kingdom (“Tie the Knot”). Many have used this phrase to talk about marriage without using the actual word “marriage.” For example, one might ask “Have they tied the knot?” a question referring to the marriage status of two individuals.
Today, the idiom to “tie that knot” is used more as a disappearing spell than a phrase to represent marriage. The reason for this is because of the words’ connotation. Marriage is supposed to be of high importance and not to be taken lightly. However, the phrase is often used in comical situations. But how can one idiom be used for marriage if it is a weak sentence to start with? To me, this idiom leaves the person on the spot with no real meaning. This idiom can be helped with other frequently used words like “let’s” as in “let’s tie the knot,” or by optimizing the words into a question, such as “So have you tied the knot?” The phrase still remains a simple sentence because of the lack of detail and grammatical modifiers. It can be argued that idioms do not need details to make them strong; however, that is not the point. Without specifics, the idiom is left insufficient. These three words do not convey the emotion they once used to. To make the idiom into a stronger sentence, specifics need to be added such as the type of knot. Though the knot within the rope may not make the rope stronger, it does make a strong bond. This is the same with marriage; although the connections may not make an individual stronger, it will perhaps make a stronger bond between the two. Adding the different types of knots will add on the image and the emotion that the phrase should have.
The idiom “tie the knot” is a phrase that may have originated as far back as the 13th century or in the last few decades (“Tie the Knot”). This idiom has been universally used to talk about marriage; a special bond between two individuals who have chosen their second half for the rest of life, in theory. This phrase has changed its connotation, and it is now used as a vanishing spell more than anything. The reason behind the phrase’s lack of sincere emotion has to be because of its lack of detail, and because culture has devalued marriage. Although the phrase is a metaphor, and metaphors are not to be taken literally, there are many different links between the literal and figurative meaning. These links are the key to making the phrase more meaningful. In the world of knots, the type of knot varies based on the situation. There are double sheel bends which are used to hold two objects for long periods of times, Windsor knots which are used for dress to impress occasions, and finally there are knots used to punish those who are wicked, such as a noose. A person must decide which type of knot his or her marriage is going to be. Is it going to be like the double sheel bend which is strong and dependable, or is going to be a strong and stubborn knot to undo like the overhand knot? Only the people can decide on the knot they want their marriage to represent.
“Tie the Knot.” The Phrase Finder. Web. March16, 2013.
“Knot.” Merriam-Webster. Britannica Company. 2013. Web. March 16, 2013.
Francisco Tovar wrote this essay for Palabras back in 2013.