have your hands tied

Idiom

Have your hands tied

Definition

Used to describe a situation where a person is unable to take action because of constraints, such as lack of resources or authority.

Examples

The government had its hands tied when it came to helping the refugees.

I wanted to help, but my hands were tied because my boss had given me other tasks.

Origin

Believed to originate from the 17th century, when criminals were literally tied up with their hands behind their backs.

FAQs

What does it mean to have your hands tied? It means to be unable to take action because of constraints, such as lack of resources or authority.

What is the origin of the phrase “have your hands tied”? It is believed to originate from the 17th century, when criminals were literally tied up with their hands behind their backs.