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    As a poet, this is an example of my favorite kind of word: a multiplicity of meanings float next to each other, and it exists as a verb, noun, and adjective. Plus the meanings are contradictory, so there is slippage and room for surprise. Like this book I found in Scotland, printed in 1967: a bound book of types of boundaries, so you can navigate, even if you don't know what lies beyond the edge. As if the map is knowable.

    Like yesterday’s dolphins, the word bound has this push pull tension between leaping upward or forward married to a limitation; confined to a space but also heading towards the new. Tied together tightly, but also released. The edge, and what's next to the edge. It is a border and the frontier.

    Nothing is ever one-way with words, or easy. Thank god.




    1. simple past tense and past participle of bind.

    Synonyms: liable, obligated, obliged, compelled.

    • to fasten or secure with a band or bond.

    • to encircle with a band or ligature.

    • to swathe or bandage

    • to fasten around; fix in place by girding:

    • to tie up (anything, as sheaves of grain).

    • to cause to cohere.

    • to unite by any legal or moral tie.

    • to become compact or solid; cohere.

    • to be obligatory.

    • to chafe or restrict, as poorly fitting garments.

    • to stick fast, as a drill in a hole.

    • (of a hawk) to grapple or grasp prey firmly in flight.

    • the act or process of binding; the state or instance of being bound.

    • something that binds.

    • Music. a tie, slur, or brace.

    • Informal. a difficult situation or predicament.


    2. tied; in bonds: a bound prisoner.

    3. made fast as if by a band or bond: bound to her family.

    4. secured within a cover, as a book.

    5. under a legal or moral obligation: bound to a contract

    6. destined; sure; certain: It is bound to happen.

    7. determined or resolved: He is bound to go.

    8. Pathology, constipated.

    9. Idiom, bound up in /with: inseparably connected with, devoted or attached to


    before 1000; Middle English binden (v.), Old English bindan; cognate with Old High German bintan, Old Norse binda, Gothic bindan, Sanskrit bandhati: '(he) binds'



    1. to move by leaps; leap, jump, spring, hop, dance, skip, gambol, gallop

    2. to rebound, as a ball; bounce


    3. a leap onward or upward; jump: with a single bound

    4. a rebound; bounce.


    1545-55; < Middle French bond a leap, bondir to leap, orig. ‘resound,’ later ‘rebound,’ from late Latin bombitare, from Latin bombus ‘humming.’



    1. limit or boundary (the bounds of space and time; within the bounds of his estate; within the bounds of reason.)

    2. something that limits, confines, or restrains.

    3. bounds: territories on or near a boundary, land within boundary lines.

    4. Mathematics. a number greater than or equal to, or less than or equal to, all numbers in a given set.


    5. to limit by or as if by bounds; keep within limits or confines.

    6. to form the boundary or limit of.

    7. to name or list the boundary of.

    8. to abut, or border.

    9. Idiom: out of bounds: beyond the official boundaries, prescribed limits, or restricted area: forbidden


    1175 Middle English bounde < AngloFrench; Old French bone, bonde, variant of bodne < Medieval Latin budina



    1. going or intending to go; on the way to; destined

    2. Archaic. prepared; ready.


    1150-1200; Middle English b (o) un 'ready' < Old Norse būinn, past participle of būa 'to get ready'

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