tie (one's) hands

(redirected from tying their 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 periodicals archive ?
Why not just let the Home Office and the secret service and our police get on with the job of making Britain safe instead of tying their hands behind their backs?
Whether because euro entry raised the prospect of tree-tiding by Italy on Germany's credit rating, or of greater discipline on Italian fiscal policymakers by tying their hands (the idea that motivated Italian elites' advocacy of the euro from the start), Italy was suddenly able to issue private- and public-sector debt at a much lower interest rate.
Or are you hiring them for their expertise and then tying their hands with rubber bands?
AMERICAN troops take no chances with these surrendering Iraqi soldiers yesterday - tying their hands and putting HOODS over their heads.
Younger directors tying their hands at drama, rather than documentaries, had a more challenging time of it.