tie (one's) hands

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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 ?
Art is the need to create; but in its essence, immense and universal, it is impatient of working with lame or tied hands, and of making cripples and monsters, such as all pictures and statues are.
"I only hope you won't have to wait too long for your thrones and your kingdoms, Rebecca," she said, "and that I shall have a sight of them before I die; but life looks very hard and rough to me, what with your aunt Miranda a cripple at the brick house, me another here at the farm, you tied hand and foot, first with one and then with the other, to say nothing of Jenny and Fanny and Mark!
Then in there I see a man stretched on the floor and tied hand and foot, and two men standing over him, and one of them had a dim lantern in his hand, and the other one had a pistol.
I'm tied hand and foot, and I can't get up and meander over green pastures.
Lean from sickness, her skin mangy with the dry scales of the disease called bukua, she was tied hand and foot and, like a pig, slung from a stout pole that rested on the shoulders of the bearers, who intended to dine off of her.
And they could do nothing, they were tied hand and foot--the law was against them, the whole machinery of society was at their oppressors' command!
"This was unheard of; we have tied hands with the Oriental Insurance company and have launched a specially designed Insurance policy for all the employees working in the Hospitality Industry across the Country.
Armed men wearing camouflage uniforms, forcibly offloaded from buses after identification, stopped passenger buses on Makran Coastal Highway in Baluchistan's Ormara area and isolation of persons belonged to a particular sect, isolated from rest of passengers, tied hands and feet and brutally shot down 14 to death.
But the opposition was locked down; tied hands and legs and merely cried and hollered as the party in power rode roughshod over the entire process.
The biggest fear for the faithful Supporters who have seen so much change in recent times rightly fear Monk might become tired of working with tied hands.
Harvey The biggest fear for the faithful Supporters who have seen so much change in recent times rightly fear Monk might become tired of working with tied hands.
He added that Emirati commanders used to take him to a hole called the monster's pit, where he was left blindfold with tied hands and legs for 48 hours without water, food or bath.
On refusal, Bukhari claimed, the PML-N workers tied hands of the PTI men and allegedly detained them in an outhouse.
The doctors conducting postmortem revealed that such a death was the first of its kind in their experience, on which, in the presence of senior police officials, mocks of committing suicide with tied hands were conducted after which the doctors and police officers confirmed that such things could happen.
A postmortem report had said the late official's tied hands at the time of his death indiciated he may not have attempted to take his own life.