bound hand and foot

Idioms & Phrases

bound hand and foot

Wholly obligated, unable to free oneself. For example, These rules have us bound hand and foot; we can't even discuss the matter. This term transfers the literal meaning, having one's hands and feet tied and therefore unable to move, to legal, moral, or social obligations. The expression dates from the 10th century a.d.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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