hands are tied

hands are tied


  • to not be able to do anything about a situation
  • to be helpless
  • to not have any other options
  • to act as per the situation rather than choice

Example Sentences

  1. The manager tried his best to explain the situation after such a terrible mess created by the employee in the account. In the end, his hands were tied and he had to fire the staff members responsible for the mistake.
  2. I feel like my hands are tied in this situation and I cannot help her out even though I want to.
  3. You may know that my father’s hands were tied back then which is why he could not finance my college education.
  4. The politician’s hands are tied by these goons knowing that they need the votes from their slums. That is why they have not been arrested yet.
  5. The lawyer’s hands were tied when his client decided to plead guilty.
  6. In business, sometimes your hands are tied and you have to lower your prices as per the competition.


The phrase is said to be modern day wherein situations control a better part of life. It is speculated to be American in origin somewhere in the beginning of the 18th century, where hands being tied could even be seen literally.

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