tie (one's) hands

(redirected from tie our hands)

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!
See also: hand, tie

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.
See also: hand, tie

tie one's hands

Prevent one from acting, as in I can't help you this time; my hands are tied by the club's rules. This metaphoric term transfers physical bondage to other kinds of constraint. It was first recorded in 1642.
See also: hand, tie

tie somebody’s ˈhands

(often used in the passive) stop somebody doing something, by taking away their power or freedom: Employers now have the right to dismiss workers who go on strike and this has tied the unions’ hands considerably.I’m afraid my hands are tied. I can’t allow anyone to bring visitors into the club. It’s against the rules. OPPOSITE: get, have, etc. a free hand
See also: hand, tie
References in classic literature ?
We endeavored to bind ourselves--to tie our hands, as it were."
However, setting a time limit in advance could tie our hands and allow the negotiating partner to take advantage of us," Abe told a parliamentary session.
We wanted to do something that would be useful now, but wouldn't tie our hands so we can do something different in the future."
But delegates backed the policy after public health minister Shona Robison pleaded: "Don't tie our hands."
It is not possible to keep a country as important as China out of the World Trade Organization indefinitely simply on the grounds that membership will tie our hands. We can set reasonable conditions for membership but if Chinese membership in the WTO is that threatening to our interests, we probably made a mistake in creating the WTO in the first place.