Idiom:  one’s hands are tied


Idiom:  one’s hands are tied

  • someone is unable to act or do something

Example sentences

  • I wish I could sell you a ticket to the game but the system is down right now so my hands are tied.
  • Unfortunately, my hands are tied because my son left his phone here at home so there's no way for me to contact him.
  • Can you hold this dress until Friday? My hands are tied until I get my paycheck.
  • We'd love to come see you this weekend but John has to work so our hands are tied.
  • I wish I could confirm if we'll be at the reception but our hands are tied right now. We're on standby and won't find out if we'll get on the flight for another two hours.
  • Sorry, I can't come get you so you'll have to call a cab. My hands are tied at the moment because I have to wait for a FedEx delivery.
  • It's so frustrating not to be able to help my brother financially but with two kids in college my hands are tied.


  • have no/little chance (to do something)
  • under somebody's heel

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