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The word binder can be ambiguous - although always derived from the verb 'to bind'. (You may also want to see a note on its forms at bind (irregular verb).) In its most general outline, it can be a person (anyone) who binds anything, in any of the possible senses of the verb (some of these are given at bind - bound - bounded); or a thing (anything) that ties up other things.

  • For binders as people:
    • Academics may most often come across 'the binder[s]' as an abbreviated form of bookbinder[s] - the people (or their machines) who make the bindings of books.
      • Students may perform a similar function with their papers by using a [ring] binder, or 'file' to hold loose sheets together by their punched holes. (Be aware that American English sometimes uses binder to mean what British English calls a 'rubber band'.)
    • In historic agriculture, binders were the workers who bound the sheaves of wheat and other cereals left behind by the reapers, who cut the stalks from the plants with sickles, or the hay with scythes. (This function is now performed for cereal crops within the combine harvester, and for hay by the baler.)
  • Binders as things may also be
    • various kinds of bands, bandages or other ties used in clothes or in medicine, etc.
    • Farmworkers used straw, for example, to make binders with which to tie up sheaves of corn.
  • A binder may be a substance which holds other substances together, as in oil used to hold pigment together to make the medium in art known as oil paint, or egg for tempera; binding agents such as cement or glue used to make concrete or various polymers. In medical language, it refers to medicaments and foodstuffs that control diarrhoea.
  • A binder may be a component in a structure that serves to hold other components together in a unified whole.
  • Binder may be used as a technical term in computer programming, and (in a different sense) in Law
  • Various machines or appliances used in particular trades or activities, in sewing, agriculture or weaving, for example.
You may also want to see bind - bound - bounded, or the related pages bind (irregular verb) and bounder.