tie in a knot

tie (someone or oneself) (up) in(to) a knot

1. To make someone or oneself feel particularly confused, anxious, worried, or upset. I've been planning to propose to James on Sunday, but the nervousness is tying me up in a knot! Now don't go tying yourself in a knot over the details of your papers—at this point, all you need is a cohesive outline.
2. To cause someone or oneself to become flustered while attempting to explain something. Jim's a smart guy, but for some reason he always ties himself up into a knot whenever I ask him to explain something on the computer for me. The complex technical language kept tying me in a knot as I tried to make my presentation to the board.
See also: knot, tie

tie something in a knot

to bend something, such as a rope, upon itself to make a knot. I ended up tying the rope in a knot. The rope was tied in a knot and no one could get it undone.
See also: knot, tie