hands are tied

someone's hands are tied

Fig. someone is not able to help or intervene. (See also .) I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do. My hands are tied.
See also: hand, tie

your hands are tied

you are not free to act Some of my students are failing, but my hands are tied by their parents, who can't admit their kids need extra help.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form something has tied someone's hands: The new rules have tied his hands.
See also: hand, tie

somebody's hands are tied

if someone's hands are tied, they are not free to behave in the way that they would like I'd like to raise people's salaries but my hands are tied.
See change hands, dirty hands, fall into hands, keep hands clean, play into hands, sit on hands, wash hands of, win hands down, wring hands
See also: hand, tie
References in periodicals archive ?
Maybe company policy considers this a gray area, and the human resources legal department feel their hands are tied.