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.


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  • Bind

    to fasten or secure with a band or bond. to encircle with a band or ligature: She bound her hair with a ribbon. to swathe or bandage (often followed by up): to bind up one’s wounds. to fasten around; fix in place by girding: They bound his hands behind him. to tie up (anything, as […]

  • Bound-to–be

    Be certain or destined to; also, be determined or resolved to. For example, We are bound to hear from them soon, or No matter what they say, she is bound to run for mayor. This usage is derived from the older sense of bound as “obliged.” [ Mid-1500s ]

  • Bound–up–in

    simple past tense and past participle of bind. tied; in bonds: a bound prisoner. made fast as if by a band or bond: She is bound to her family. secured within a cover, as a book. under a legal or moral obligation: He is bound by the terms of the contract. destined; sure; certain: It […]

  • Bound-variable

    (in the functional calculus) a variable occurring in a quantifier and in a sentential function within the scope of the quantifier.

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