Idiom of the Week: My Hands Are Tied

Meaning: To be powerless; to not be able to do something.


The customer wanted a refund but I told him that my hands were tied: he could only get store credit.

“The flight is delayed three hours? But I need to be in New York by 9 pm!” “I’m sorry, sir. Our hands are tied.”

Your mom already said you can’t have any more candy, so my hands are tied. Sorry, son.


Pop Quiz:

If someone tells you that their hands are tied, they mean…

A.  They can maybe do something.

B.  They can definitely help you.

C.  They can do nothing to change the situation.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

The correct answer is C. If someone’s hands are tied, they have no power to do anything or change anything.



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