sit on hands

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Related to sit on hands: sit on one's hands

sit on (one's) hands

1. To refrain from acting, intervening, or helping. They may not have broken the law themselves, but the CEOs certainly sat on their hands and allowed these illegal activities to happen unchecked. I feel so guilty for sitting on my hands while my son was going through such a difficult time in his life. Why don't you actually help us fix the issue, instead of just sitting on your hands and complaining?
2. To refrain from or refuse to applaud (someone or something). Our show really depends on the audience engaging with the performance, so it's always very off-putting when the people watching just sit on their hands the whole time. I made a point of sitting on my hands while everyone else cheered on the boss's idiotic plan. The whole crowd sat on its hands at the end of my comedy routine, which was incredibly demoralizing.
See also: hand, on, sit
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sit on one's hands

Fig. to do nothing; to fail to help. (See also sit on its hands.) When we needed help from Mary, she just sat on her hands. We need the cooperation of everyone. You can't sit on your hands!
See also: hand, on, sit
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

sit on (one's) hands

To fail to act.
See also: hand, on, sit
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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