(one's) hands are tied

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(one's) hands are tied

One does not have the ability to act, help, or intervene as one should or desire. I'm sorry, I would love to approve your application, but my hands are tied by the regulations. The company stated that they have tried everything in their power to avoid pay cuts, but their hands are tied at this point.
See also: hand, tie

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

COMMON If your hands are tied, something such as a law is preventing you from acting in the way that you want to. He would like to help but his hands are tied by regulations approved by the council of ministers. Note: You can also say that you have your hands tied or that something ties your hands. The present rule ties jockeys' hands and I don't feel it is fair. She felt frustrated by it all. `We feel as though our hands have been tied because we have no power at all.'
See also: hand, tie