hands are tied

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - hands are tied

"hands are tied"

not able to help or intervene;

not free to act as you would like to


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - hands are tied

A boss and employee are talking ...

Employee:  You know I have been working really hard and have brought in three new clients over the past year. Do you think that a raise in pay might be in order?

Boss:  I would love to give you a raise but upper-management has put a freeze on all wage raises.

Employee:  So, your hands are tied.

Boss:  There is nothing I can do.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - hands are tied

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Are you sure you can't come fishing with us this weekend?

Friend 2:  My hands are tied. I promised my wife that we would clean out the garage this weekend.

Friend 1:  And you can't change your plans?

Friend 2:  And upset my wife? Are you crazy?

hands are tied - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   496   click for frequency by country

hands are tied - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for hands are tied.

hands are tied - Examples:

1)  Your mind is made up, and my hands are tied. It's just one of those things that I can't do nothing about.

2)  The statements from the UK Met Office ring true. Their hands are tied. This issue needs to be addressed at a higher level.

3)  You see my hands are tied those other people are holding up the process not me.

4)  It is a chronic complaint of small-business persons and entrepreneurs that their hands are tied by excessive government regulation.

5)  In this current election for the US presidency, his hands are tied. He can not proceed, because he can not appear soft on Israel's ...

6)  The teacher said, I completely agree, but my hands are tied. I'm forced to teach this garbage.

7)  Under current legislation, employers' hands are tied in often lengthy HR processes that are painful, expensive and embarrassing for everybody involved ...

8)  Our hands are tied and we have no recourse.

9)  ... cops don't care... or if they did their hands are tied in what they can actually do. 

10)  ... but what can I do? MY HANDS ARE TIED.

11)  When you get information on deep background, your hands are tied and you can't always explain legitimate avenues by which you acquired, ...

12)  While our hands are tied with the ongoing budget cuts, there is something that we can do to make ...

13)  School boards hands are tied on many policy issues. Sure they could break the law, but that isn't ...

14)  ... to deal with any situation that came up where as the schools' hands are tied as to what they can do legally.

15)  My hands are tied by miles of protocol and red tape.

16)  ... but our hands are tied by policies made by people who don't have a clue what goes on in ...

17)  Sometimes your hands are tied and you have to work with what you have.

18)  Yet administrators' hands are tied by laws they don't have the power to change.

19)  Indeed, the Pope's hands are tied with regard to the changing of Christian doctrine. No Pope has ever used his ...

20)  His hands are tied because there are enough pro-gun Democrats to stop him.