tie (one's) hands

(redirected from tied his 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 ?
The first thing we did, we knocked at the door, when one of the priests coming to it, we immediately seized upon him, stopped his mouth, and tied his hands behind him, and led him to the idol, where we gagged him that he might not make a noise, tied his feet also together, and left him on the ground.
And the three thousand dollars is mine because I kicked the man in the head and tied his hands and his feet.
My brother tried to bribe them to let him off, but far from listening to him they tied his hands, and forced him to walk between them to the presence of the judge.
Then they tied his hands behind him, and lifting him up set him upon the back of one of the horses, with his face to its tail and his feet strapped beneath its belly.
But the 22-year-old attacker tied his hands and choked him at their campin Muhaisnah on January 18 this year, prosecutors said.
The accused tied his hands and gagged his mouth as well.
The 90-year-old then said the pair tied his hands and legs with a plastic rope, and asked him for money.
As soon as the other passengers realized he was abnormal, people tied his hands.
The gunmen forcibly stopped the vehicle of the businessman, tied his hands and asked for cash, said the head of the construction company, Izatullah.
The pair smashed his window, pulled the victim out of the van and tied his hands behind his back, threatening him with a shotgun.
But Arteta has really tied his hands when it comes to buying new players.
Before they took effect, the City equities manager tied his hands behind his back and hanged himself in the garage of his farmhouse in Wyboston, Bedfordshire.
The terms of the commission for this book (his first) obviously tied his hands, his references curtailed by a cordon sanitaire thrown around the privacy of la maison Hodgkin.