Have you ever heard the phrase “the ties that bind?” It’s used to talk about the connections that people have that keep them together, such as how siblings (sisters and brothers) know each other so well because they have the shared experience of growing up. But thinking of the phrase “the ties that bind” is a great way to remember the root word lig.

The root word lig comes from Latin and means to tie or bind something. There are many words in English that use the root word lig, and many of them talk about relationships, responsibilities, and beliefs. In other words, things that tie us to others.

Check out some of our favorite words using the root word lig, along with some definitions from Merriam-Webster and helpful examples!


(Noun) an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or group of gods

For example:

  • I was raised in the Catholic faith (religion), but I’m not religious anymore.
  • There are so many religions around the world! People believe so many different things.


(Noun) loyalty to a person, country, or group

For example:

  • In American schools, students say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. They promise that they will be loyal to the United States.
  • In medieval times, people would have to prove their allegiance to the king with certain behaviors and actions.


(Noun) something that you must do because of a law, rule, promise, or because it is morally right

For example:

  • You have no obligation to be there. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.
  •  I have an obligation to myself to always do the right thing!


(Noun) a tough piece of tissue in your body that holds bones together or keeps organs in place

For example:

  • He really injured himself playing soccer last week. He tore a ligament in his leg. He won’t be able to play for a while.
  • Proper nutrition (eating well) is good for your ligaments and muscles. It helps keep everything healthy and in working order.


(Noun) something that is used to tie or bind, such as a thread, particularly in a medical context

For example:

  • The ligature holds the reed on the mouthpiece of the clarinet.
  • The doctor tied a ligature around the tube to help keep it in place.
  • The murder victim was found with ligature marks on their neck, so the police think they were strangled.


(Noun) an association of people or groups with common interests or goals; a class or category of a certain quality

For example:

  • What league does your favorite football team play in? Are they in the first or the second league?
  • I’m not in the same league as my friend anymore. She’s a much better, faster swimmer than I am.


(Adj) required by rule or by law

For example:

  • The meeting on Friday is obligatory. You have to be there.
  • It is obligatory to go to court, if you get a traffic ticket.

Can you think of any other words in English that have the root word lig? Are there any words in your language that use the root word lig? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and thanks you for RELYING on her to bring you the best English content every Thursday!

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