Fit to be tied is an idiom, as it does not describe a person or thing who literally should be tied up. We’ll discuss the meaning of the idiom fit to be tied, where it came from, and list a few examples of sentences including the phrase fit to be tied.
Fit to be tied describes someone who is extremely angry, someone who is enraged. Fit to be tied evokes a picture of someone who is so angry that he must be tied up to restrain him from committing an act of aggression. Of course, in most cases fit to be tied is an exaggeration of a person’s state of mind. First appearing in the early 1800s, fit to be tied alludes to the practice of tying up uncontrollable mental patients. This practice of tying up mental patients with rope or cloth gave way to the straitjacket, which was invented in France around 1790. The straitjacket covers each arm and hand, which are then wrapped around and fastened in the back. It is so difficult to escape from a straitjacket that the act is often depicted in magic shows. Though the earliest known use of the term fit to be tied comes from the United Kingdom, fit to be tied is a well-known idiom popular in the United States, particularly the southern area.
“When my uncle found out he was fit to be tied.” (The Chicago Tribune)
Now, with the imminent nominations of Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton as the respective Republican and Democratic candidates for president, it’s fair to say the Business Roundtable is fit to be tied. (The New York Times)
The Republican Party establishment, including the donor class, conservative media, party consultants, and other assorted GOP hacks, are fit to be tied. (The American Thinker)