WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
hand /hænd/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. Anatomy, Zoologythe part at the end of the arm in humans, or in other animals, that consists of the wrist, knuckles, fingers, and thumb.
  2. something resembling a hand in shape or function, as the pointers on a timepiece:The hands of the clock pointed to twelve.
  3. a person performing manual labor or general duties:a ranch hand.
  4. a person, with reference to ability, knowledge, or experience:an old hand at fund-raising.
  5. skill:The painting shows a master's hand.
  6. a position, esp. one of control, used for bargaining, negotiating, etc.:needed to strengthen our hand in the negotiations.
  7. the means;
    agency:[singular]Death occurred by his own hand.
  8. assistance;
    aid:[singular]Give me a hand with this ladder.
  9. style of handwriting;
    penmanship:a flowing hand.
  10. a round or outburst of applause for a performer:[singular]Let's give the singer a big hand.
  11. a promise or pledge of marriage:He asked for her hand in marriage.
  12. Weights and Measuresa unit of measure equal to 4 inches (10.2 centimeters).
  13. Games
    • the playing cards dealt to or held by each player at one time.
    • a single round of a card game:A few more hands and then we'll stop.

  1. to deliver or pass with or as if with the hand;
    offer: [+ object + to + object]I handed the note to the ambassador.[+ object + object]She handed me the note.
  2. to provide:[+ object + object]handed us a golden opportunity.
  3. hand down: 
    • to deliver;
      pronounce: [+ down + object]The judge handed down the decision.[+ object + down]He handed it down.
    • to transmit;
      pass along in turn: [+ down + object]She wanted to hand down the traditions of her church to her grandchildren.[+ object + down]She handed them down to her children.
  4. See hand on below.
  5. hand in, to submit;
    present for acceptance: [+ in + object]He handed in his resignation.[+ object + in]handed the paper in late.
  6. hand off, [Football.]to hand the ball to a member of one's team in the course of a play: [+ off + object]The quarterback handed off the ball to his halfback.[+ object + off]He handed the ball off.
  7. hand on, to hand down: [+ on + object]She handed on the leadership of the party to her successor.[+ object + on]She handed it on to her successor.
  8. hand out, to give or distribute;
    pass out: [+ out + object]She handed out the exam booklets to her class.[+ object + out]She handed them out.
  9. hand over, to deliver to another;
    surrender control of: [+ over + object]The kidnappers handed over the hostages.[+ object + over]The kidnappers handed them over.
  1. Idiomsat hand: 
    • within reach:She picked up the first pencil at hand.
    • about to happen:swore that the end of the world was at hand.
    • under consideration:a discussion of the matter at hand.
  2. Idiomsat the hand(s) of, by or through the action of:suffered at the hands of their captors.
  3. Idiomsby hand, by using the hands manually:I wrote the whole report out by hand.
  4. Idiomschange hands, to pass from one owner to another:changed hands eleven times in eleven years.
  5. Idiomseat out of someone's hand, [no object] to give in completely to someone:That spoiled brat has his parents eating out of his hand.
  6. Idiomsforce someone's hand, to compel a person to do or tell something before he or she is ready to do so:You have forced my hand; I have no choice but to report you.
  7. Idiomsfrom hand to mouth, with nothing in reserve;
    with no savings;
    barely getting by:to live from hand to mouth.
  8. Idiomshand and foot: 
    • with the arms and legs restrained:bound the bank employees hand and foot.
    • with slavish attentiveness:to wait on someone hand and foot.
  9. Idiomshand in or  and  glove, in close association or cooperation:My boss and his superior were working hand in glove.
  10. Idiomshand in hand: 
    • alongside one another while holding hands:We walked hand in hand down by the beach.
    • hand in glove.
  11. Idiomshand it to, [+ object] to give deserved and proper credit to:You've got to hand it to her, she made a great effort.
  12. Idiomshand over fist, quickly and abundantly:made money hand over fist.
  13. Idiomshands down: 
    • without great effort;
      easily:He won the championship hands down.
    • that cannot be argued about:Hands down the best race I've ever seen.
  14. Idiomshand to hand, in direct combat;
    at close quarters:fighting hand to hand.
  15. Idiomshave a hand in, [+ object] to participate in:Did you have a hand in this stupid business?
  16. Idiomshave one's hands full, [no object] to be very busy:had his hands full with five children.
  17. Idiomshold hands, to join hands with another person, as in affection.
  18. Idiomsin hand: 
    • under control:has the situation well in hand.
    • in one's possession:He's got enough cash in hand.
  19. in someone's hands, in someone's possession, control, or care:My fate is in your hands.
  20. Idiomsjoin hands, to unite in a common cause:Will the former enemies now join hands?
  21. Idiomskeep one's hand in, [+ object] to continue to work at or practice:Although he had officially retired he kept his hand in his former business.
  22. Idiomslay hands on, [+ object]
    • to obtain;
      acquire:Where can I lay my hands on a good second-hand car?
    • to seize, esp. in order to punish.
  23. Idiomson hand: 
    • at one's disposal:We don't have enough cash on hand.
    • present:How many staff members are on hand?
  24. Idiomson one's hands, as one's responsibility:had a big problem on their hands.
  25. Idiomson the one hand. This expression is used to introduce the first item to be presented:On the one hand, we have to consider costs.
  26. Idiomson the other hand. This expression is often used to introduce an item that opposes one that has just been introduced by the phrase on the one hand:On the other hand, we have to consider the human factor.
  27. Idiomsout of hand: 
    • out of control:The mob got completely out of hand.
  28. Idiomstake (something or someone) in hand, to take responsibility for;
    deal with:The police took the situation in hand.
  29. Idiomsthrow up one's hands, to stop trying;
    admit to failure:At that point I threw up my hands; no one was listening.
  30. Idiomstry one's hand at, [+ object] to start (some activity) so as to test one's ability at:tried my hand at car repair but couldn't get the hang of it.
  31. Idiomsturn or  put one's hand to, [+ object] to set to work at:He put his hand to gardening.
  32. Idiomswash one's hands of, [+ object] to abandon any further responsibility for;
    to refuse to be involved with:He washed his hands of the whole affair.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
hand  (hand),USA pronunciation  n. 
  1. Anatomy, Zoologythe terminal, prehensile part of the upper limb in humans and other primates, consisting of the wrist, metacarpal area, fingers, and thumb.
  2. Anatomy, Zoologythe corresponding part of the forelimb in any of the higher vertebrates.
  3. Zoologya terminal prehensile part, as the chela of a crustacean, or, in falconry, the foot of a falcon.
  4. something resembling a hand in shape or function, as various types of pointers:the hands of a clock.
  5. Printingindex (def. 8).
  6. a person employed in manual labor or for general duties;
    laborer:a factory hand; a ranch hand.
  7. a person who performs or is capable of performing a specific work, skill, or action:a real hand at geometry.
  8. skill;
    characteristic touch:a painting that shows a master's hand.
  9. a person, with reference to ability or skill:He was a poor hand at running a business.
  10. Nautical, Naval Termsa member of a ship's crew:All hands on deck!
  11. Often,  hands. possession or power;
    control, custody, or care:to have someone's fate in one's hands.
  12. a position, esp. one of control, used for bargaining, negotiating, etc.:an action to strengthen one's hand.
  13. means, agency;
    instrumentality:death by his own hand.
  14. assistance;
    active participation or cooperation:Give me a hand with this ladder.
  15. side;
    direction:no traffic on either hand of the road.
  16. style of handwriting;
    penmanship:She wrote in a beautiful hand.
  17. a person's signature:to set one's hand to a document.
  18. a round or outburst of applause for a performer:to get a hand.
  19. a promise or pledge, as of marriage:He asked for her hand in marriage.
  20. Weights and Measuresa linear measure equal to 4 inches (10.2 centimeters), used esp. in determining the height of horses.
  21. Games[Cards.]
    • the cards dealt to or held by each player at one time.
    • the person holding the cards.
    • a single part of a game, in which all the cards dealt at one time are played.
  22. Law[Roman Law.]manus (def. 2).
  23. Sporthands, [Manège.]skill at manipulating the reins of a horse:To ride well, one must have good hands.
  24. a bunch, cluster, or bundle of various leaves, fruit, etc., as a bundle of tobacco leaves tied together or a cluster of bananas.
  25. Mechanical Engineering[Mach.]the deviation of a thread or tooth from the axial direction of a screw or gear, as seen from one end looking away toward the other.
  26. Building
    • the position of the hinges of a door, in terms of right and left, as seen from outside the building, room, closet, etc., to which the doorway leads.
    • the position of the hinges of a casement sash, in terms of right and left, from inside the window.
  27. TextilesAlso called  handle. the fabric properties that can be sensed by touching the material, as resilience, smoothness, or body:the smooth hand of satin.
  28. [Archaic.]a person considered as a source, as of information or of supply.
  29. Idiomsat first hand, firsthand (def. 1).
  30. Idiomsat hand: 
    • within reach;
      close by.
    • near in time;
    • ready for use:We keep a supply of canned goods at hand.
  31. Idiomsat second hand, See  second hand (def. 3).
  32. Idiomsat the hand or  hands of, by the action of;
    through the agency of:They suffered at the hands of their stepfather.
  33. Idiomsby hand, by using the hands, as opposed to machines;
    manually:lace made by hand.
  34. Idiomschange hands, to pass from one owner to another;
    change possession:The property has changed hands several times in recent years.
  35. Idiomscome to hand: 
    • to come within one's reach or notice.
    • to be received;
      arrive:The spring stock came to hand last week.
  36. Idiomseat out of one's hand, to be totally submissive to another;
    be very attentive or servile:That spoiled brat has her parents eating out of her hand.
  37. Idiomsforce one's hand, to prompt a person to take immediate action or to reveal his or her intentions:The criticism forced the governor's hand so that he had to declare his support of the tax bill.
  38. Idiomsfrom hand to hand, from one person to another;
    through successive ownership or possession:The legendary jewel went from hand to hand.
  39. Idiomsfrom hand to mouth, improvidently;
    with nothing in reserve:They looked forward to a time when they would no longer have to live from hand to mouth.
  40. Idiomsgive one's hand on or  upon, to give one's word;
    seal a bargain by or as if by shaking hands:He said the goods would be delivered within a month and gave them his hand on it.
  41. Idiomshand and foot: 
    • so as to hinder movement:They tied him hand and foot.
    • slavishly and continually:Cinderella had to wait on her stepsisters hand and foot.
  42. Idiomshand and glove, very intimately associated:Several high-ranking diplomats were found to be hand and glove with enemy agents.Also,  hand in glove. 
  43. Idiomshand in hand: 
    • with one's hand enclasped in that of another person.
    • closely associated;
      conjointly:Doctors and nurses work hand in hand to save lives.
  44. Idiomshand over fist, speedily;
    increasingly:He owns a chain of restaurants and makes money hand over fist.
  45. Idiomshands down: 
    • effortlessly;
      easily:He won the championship hands down.
    • indisputably;
      incontestably:It was hands down the best race I've ever seen.
  46. Idiomshands off! don't touch, strike, or interfere! keep away from!:Hands off my stereo!
  47. Idiomshands up! hold your hands above your head! give up!
  48. Idiomshand to hand, in direct combat;
    at close quarters:The troops fought hand to hand.
  49. Idiomshave a hand in, to have a share in;
    participate in:It is impossible that she could have had a hand in this notorious crime.
  50. Idiomshave one's hands full, to have a large or excessive amount of work to handle;
    be constantly busy:The personnel department has its hands full trying to process the growing number of applications.
  51. Idiomshold hands, to join hands with another person as a token of affection:They have been seen holding hands in public.
  52. Idiomsin hand: 
    • under control:He kept the situation well in hand.
    • in one's possession:cash in hand.
    • in the process of consideration or settlement:regarding the matter in hand.
  53. Idiomsjoin hands, to unite in a common cause;
    combine:The democracies must join hands in order to survive.
  54. Idiomskeep one's hand in, to continue to practice:He turned the business over to his sons, but he keeps his hand in it. I just play enough golf to keep my hand in.
  55. Idiomslay one's hands on: 
    • to obtain;
      acquire:I wish I could lay my hands on a good used piano.
    • to seize, esp. in order to punish:He wanted to lay his hands on the person who had backed into his car.
    • to impose the hands in a ceremonial fashion, as in ordination:The bishop laid hands on the candidates.
  56. Idiomslend or  give a hand, to lend assistance;
    help out:Lend a hand and we'll finish the job in no time.
  57. Idiomslift a hand, to exert any effort:She wouldn't lift a hand to help anyone.Also,  lift a finger. 
  58. Idiomsoff one's hands: 
    • out of one's charge or care:Now, with their children grown and off their hands, they will be free to travel.
    • successfully completed;
      finished:The lawyer planned a vacation as soon as the case was off his hands.
  59. Idiomson all hands: 
    • by everyone;
      universally:It was decided on all hands to take an excursion.
    • on every side;
      all around:piercing glances on all hands.Also,  on every hand. 
  60. Idiomson hand: 
    • in one's possession;
      at one's disposal:cash on hand.
    • Idiomsabout to occur;
      imminent:A change of government may be on hand.
    • present:There were not enough members on hand to constitute a quorum.
  61. Idiomson or  upon one's hands, under one's care or management;
    as one's responsibility:He was left with a large surplus on his hands.
  62. Idiomson the other hand, from another side or aspect;
    conversely:Itwas an unfortunate experience, but, on the other hand, one can learn from one's mistakes.
  63. Idiomsout of hand: 
    • beyond control:to let one's temper get out of hand.
    • without delay;
      at once:The crisis obliged him to act out of hand.
    • no longer in process;
      finished:The case has been out of hand for some time.
    • without consideration or deliberation:to reject a proposal out of hand.
  64. Idiomsshake hands, to clasp another's hand in greeting, congratulation, or agreement:They shook hands on the proposed partnership.
  65. Idiomsshow one's hand, to disclose or display one's true intentions or motives:The impending revolution forced him to show his hand.
  66. Idiomssit on one's hands: 
    • to be unenthusiastic or unappreciative;
      fail to applaud:It was a lively show, but the audience sat on its hands.
    • to take no action;
      be passive or hesitant:While he was being beaten, the others sat on their hands.
  67. Idiomstake a hand in, to take part in;
    participate in:If the strike continues, the government will have to take a hand in the negotiations.
  68. Idiomstake in hand: 
    • to undertake responsibility for;
      assume charge:When both parents died, an uncle took the youngster in hand.
    • to deal with;
      treat of:We'll take the matter in hand at the next meeting.
  69. Idiomsthrow up one's hands, to admit one's inadequacy, exasperation, or failure;
    despair:When the general received reports of an enemy build-up, he threw up his hands.
  70. Idiomstie one's hands, to render one powerless to act;
    thwart:The provisions of the will tied his hands.Also,  have one's hands tied. 
  71. Idiomstip one's hand, to reveal one's plans or intentions before the propitious time.
  72. Idiomsto hand: 
    • within reach;
      accessible or nearby.
    • into one's possession:A search of the attic brought some valuable antiques to hand.
  73. Idiomstry one's hand (at), to test one's skill or aptitude for:After becoming a successful painter, he decided to try his hand at sculpture.
  74. Idiomsturn or  put one's hand to, to set to work at;
    busy oneself with:He turned his hand successfully to gardening.
  75. Idiomswash one's hands of, to disclaim any further responsibility for;
    renounce interest in or support of:I washed my hands of the entire affair.
  76. Idiomswith a heavy hand: 
    • with severity;
      oppressively:The law will punish offenders with a heavy hand.
    • in a clumsy manner;
      gracelessly:The play was directed with a heavy hand.
  77. Idiomswith a high hand, in an arrogant or dictatorial manner;
    arbitrarily:He ran the organization with a high hand.

  1. to deliver or pass with or as if with the hand.
  2. to help, assist, guide, etc., with the hand:He handed the elderly woman across the street.
  3. [Naut.]
    • Naval Termsto take in or furl (a sail).
    • Naval Termsto haul on or otherwise handle.
  4. hand down: 
    • to deliver (the decision of a court):The jury handed down a verdict of guilty.
    • to transmit from one to another, esp. to bequeath to posterity:The ring had been handed down from her grandmother.
  5. hand in, to submit;
    present for acceptance:She handed in her term paper after the deadline.
  6. British Terms, Idiomshand in one's checks, [Chiefly Brit.]See  cash (def. 7).
  7. hand it to, [Informal.]to give just credit to;
    pay respect to:You have to hand it to her for getting the work out.
  8. hand off, [Football.]to hand the ball to a member of one's team in the course of a play.
  9. hand on, to transmit;
    pass on to a successor, posterity, etc.:The silver service was handed on to the eldest daughter of the family.
  10. hand out, to give or distribute;
    pass out:People were handing out leaflets on every corner.
  11. hand over: 
    • to deliver into the custody of another.
    • to surrender control of:He handed over his business to his children.

  1. of, belonging to, using, or used by the hand.
  2. made by hand.
  3. carried in or worn on the hand.
  4. operated by hand;
handlike′, adj. 
  • bef. 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch, German Hand, Old Norse hǫnd, Gothic handus
    • 16.See corresponding entry in Unabridged script, calligraphy, longhand.

Hand  (hand),USA pronunciation n.  Lear•ned  (hand),USA pronunciation 1872–1961, U.S. jurist.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
hand /hænd/ n
  1. the prehensile part of the body at the end of the arm, consisting of a thumb, four fingers, and a palm
  2. the bones of this part
  3. the corresponding or similar part in animals
  4. something resembling this in shape or function
  5. the cards dealt to one or all players in one round of a card game
  6. a player holding such cards
  7. one round of a card game
  8. agency or influence: the hand of God
  9. a part in something done: he had a hand in the victory
  10. assistance: to give someone a hand with his work
  11. a pointer on a dial, indicator, or gauge, esp on a clock
  12. acceptance or pledge of partnership, as in marriage: he asked for her hand, he gave me his hand on the merger
  13. a position or direction indicated by its location to the side of an object or the observer: on the right hand, on every hand
  14. a contrastive aspect, condition, etc (in the phrases on the one hand, on the other hand)
  15. (preceded by an ordinal number) source or origin: a story heard at third hand
  16. a person, esp one who creates something: a good hand at painting
  17. a labourer or manual worker: we've just taken on a new hand at the farm
  18. a member of a ship's crew: all hands on deck
  19. a person's handwriting: the letter was in his own hand
  20. a round of applause: give him a hand
  21. a manner or characteristic way of doing something: the hand of a master
  22. a unit of length measurement equalling four inches, used for measuring the height of horses, usually from the front hoof to the withers
  23. a cluster or bundle, esp of bananas
  24. a free handfreedom to do as desired
  25. a hand's turn ⇒ (usually used with a negative) a small amount of work: he hasn't done a hand's turn
  26. a heavy handtyranny, persecution, or oppression: he ruled with a heavy hand
  27. a high handan oppressive or dictatorial manner
  28. at hand, near at handvery near or close, esp in time
  29. by handby manual rather than mechanical means
  30. by messenger or personally: the letter was delivered by hand
  31. from hand to mouthin poverty: living from hand to mouth
  32. without preparation or planning
  33. hand and footin all ways possible; completely: they waited on him hand and foot
  34. hand in glovein an intimate relationship or close association
  35. hand over fiststeadily and quickly; with rapid progress: he makes money hand over fist
  36. hold one's handto stop or postpone a planned action or punishment
  37. hold someone's handto support, help, or guide someone, esp by giving sympathy or moral support
  38. in handunder control
  39. receiving attention or being acted on
  40. available for use; in reserve
  41. with deferred payment: he works a week in hand
  42. keep one's hand into continue or practise
  43. on handclose by; present: I'll be on hand to help you
  44. out of handbeyond control
  45. without reservation or deeper examination: he condemned him out of hand
  46. show one's handto reveal one's stand, opinion, or plans
  47. to handaccessible
  48. try one's handto attempt to do something
  49. (modifier) of or involving the hand: a hand grenade
  50. made to be carried in or worn on the hand: hand luggage
  51. operated by hand: a hand drill
  52. (in combination) made by hand rather than by a machine: hand-sewn
vb (transitive)
  1. to transmit or offer by the hand or hands
  2. to help or lead with the hand
  3. to furl (a sail)
  4. hand it to someoneto give credit to someone

See also hand down, hand in, hand-off, hand on, hand-out, hand over, handsEtymology: Old English hand; related to Old Norse hönd, Gothic handus, Old High German hant

ˈhandless adj ˈhandˌlike adj
'at hand' also found in these entries:

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