tie (one's) hands

(redirected from tying 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Boris Johnson should heed the warnings from Schelling and Putnam about the downsides to tying hands too tightly.
For all the theoretical advantages of tying hands, 'governments generally prefer to come to a negotiating table with as large a win set as possible or arrive with constraints that are not of their own choosing', argues political sociologist, Peter Evans.
* We propose a more general attack on the absurdity of trivial and unworkable transnational legislation at a time of global crisis, and global recognition that transnational legislation can cause more problems than it solves by tying hands which need to be free.
That's why voluntary spending limits, mandatory ad formats, a shortened campaign calendar and bans on attack advertising won't fly In every campaign, one side or the other needs room to legitimately maneuver to overcome an opponent's strategic advantage, whether that is more name recognition, political endorsements or access to money; tying hands without regard to tactical consequences would be a disservice.