tie somebody/yourself in knots
tie (someone or oneself) (up) into knots
1. To make someone oneself feel particularly confused, anxious, worried, or upset. I've been planning to propose to James on Sunday, but the nervousness is tying me into knots! Now don't go tying yourself in knots 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 knots whenever I ask him to explain something on the computer for me. The complex technical language kept tying me in knots as I tried to present it to the board.
tie someone (up) in knots
Fig. to become anxious or upset. John tied himself in knots worrying about his wife during her operation. This waiting and worrying really ties me up in knots.
tie yourself in knotsor
tie yourself up in knots
If you tie yourself in knots or tie yourself up in knots, you make yourself confused or anxious, so you are not able to think clearly. The New York Times editorial page tied itself in knots trying to find the correct tone with which to treat the matter. Catherine is tying herself up in knots with worry because nine-year-old Alice has school phobia.