tie (one's) hands
1. Literally, to bind one at the hands, typically with rope or something similar. Tie his hands so he can't escape!
2. By extension, to prevent one from behaving or acting in a certain way. I really wish I could help you get a refund, but the company's strict returns policy has tied my hands. If the government would stop tying our hands with these burdensome regulations, our economy would actually have a chance to flourish for once!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
tie someone's hands
1. Lit. to use rope or string to tie someone's hands together. The robber tied my hands and I couldn't call the police.
2. Fig. to prevent someone from doing something. I'd like to help you, but my boss has tied my hands. Please don't tie my hands with unnecessary restrictions. I'd like the freedom to do whatever is necessary.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.