"anything that binds," in various senses, late Old English, from bind (v.). Meaning "tight or awkward situation" is from 1851.
Old English bindan "to tie up with bonds" (literally and figuratively), also "to make captive; to cover with dressings and bandages" (class III strong verb; past tense band, past participle bunden), from Proto-Germanic *bindan (source also of Old Saxon bindan, Old Norse and Old Frisian binda, Old High German binten "to bind," German binden, Gothic bindan), from PIE root *bhendh- "to bind." Of books, from c. 1400. Intransitive sense of "stick together, cohere" is from 1670s.
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