see also: Hand
Pronunciation Noun

hand (plural hands)

  1. The part of the fore limb below the forearm or wrist in a human, and the corresponding part in many other animals.
    meronyms en
    Her hands are really strong.
    • Using her hands like windshield wipers, she tried to flick snow away from her mouth. When she clawed at her chest and neck, the crumbs maddeningly slid back onto her face. She grew claustrophobic.
  2. That which resembles, or to some extent performs the office of, a human hand.
    1. A limb of certain animals, such as the foot of a hawk, or any one of the four extremities of a monkey.
    2. An index or pointer on a dial; such as the hour and minute hands on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day.
  3. In linear measurement:
    1. (chiefly, in measuring the height of horses) Four inches, a hand's breadth.
      • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473 ↗:
        Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together.
    2. (obsolete) Three inches.
  4. A side; part, camp; direction, either right or left.
    • Book of Exodus 38:15:
      On this hand and that hand, were hangings.
    • 1950, Bertrand Russell, acceptance speech for Nobel Prize in Literature
      I maintain, however, on the one hand, that there are few occasions upon which large bodies of men, such as politics is concerned with, can rise above selfishness, while, on the other hand, there are a very great many circumstances in which populations will fall below selfishness, if selfishness is interpreted as enlightened self-interest.
  5. Power of performance; means of execution; ability; skill; dexterity.
    • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart; Avery Hopwood, chapter I, in The Bat: A Novel from the Play (Dell Book; 241), New York, N.Y.: Dell Publishing Company, OCLC 20230794 ↗, [https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hwptej;view=1up;seq=5 page 01]:
      The Bat—they called him the Bat. […]. He'd never been in stir, the bulls had never mugged him, he didn't run with a mob, he played a lone hand, and fenced his stuff so that even the fence couldn't swear he knew his face.
  6. An agent; a servant, or manual laborer, especially in compounds; a workman, trained or competent for special service or duty; a performer more or less skillful.
    an old hand at speaking;  large farms need many farm hands
  7. An instance of helping.
    Bob gave Alice a hand to move the furniture.
  8. Handwriting; style of penmanship.
    a good hand
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify ), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292 ↗:
      I have sometimes known a poet in danger of being convicted as a thief, upon much worse evidence than the resemblance of hands hath been held to be in the law.
  9. A person's autograph or signature.
    Given under my Hand and Seal of the State this 1st Day of January, 2010.
  10. Personal possession; ownership.
  11. (usually, in the plural, hands) Management, domain, control.
    in safe hands;  in good hands;  He lost his job when the factory changed hands.  With the business back in the founder's hands, there is new hope for the company.  With John in charge of the project, it's in good hands.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Luke 1:1
      Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us […]
  12. That which is, or may be, held in a hand at once.
    1. (card games) The set of cards held by a player.
      1. A round of a card game.
    2. (tobacco manufacturing) A bundle of tobacco leaves tied together.
    3. (collective) The collective noun for a bunch of bananas.
  13. Applause.
    Give him a hand.
    • 2013, Tom Shone, Oscar nominations pull a surprise by showing some taste – but will it last? (in The Guardian, 11 January 2013)
      Also a big hand for Silver Linings Playbook, an exuberant modern screwball comedy we had, in an unseemly fit of cynicism, deemed "too entertaining" for Academy voters.
  14. (historical) A Native American gambling game, involving guessing the whereabouts of bits of ivory or similar, which are passed rapidly from hand to hand.
  15. (firearms) The small part of a gunstock near the lock, which is grasped by the hand in taking aim.
  16. A whole rhizome of ginger.
  17. The feel of a fabric; the impression or quality of the fabric as judged qualitatively by the sense of touch.
    This fabric has a smooth, soft hand.
  18. (archaic) Actual performance; deed; act; workmanship; agency; hence, manner of performance.
    • Book of Judges 6.36:
      Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by my hand.
  19. (archaic) Agency in transmission from one person to another.
    to buy at first hand (from the producer, or when new);  to buy at second hand (when no longer in the producer’s hand, or when not new);  It's not a rumor. I heard it at first hand.
  20. (obsolete) Rate; price.
  • (part of the arm below the wrist) manus (obsolete), paw (of some animals)

hand (hands, present participle handing; past and past participle handed)

  1. (transitive) To give, pass, or transmit with the hand, literally or figuratively.
    He handed them the letter.   She handed responsibility over to her deputy.
  2. (transitive) To lead, guide, or assist with the hand; to conduct.
    to hand a lady into a carriage
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To manage.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To seize; to lay hands on.
  5. (transitive, rare) To pledge by the hand; to handfast.
  6. (transitive, nautical, said of a sail) To furl.
  7. (intransitive, obsolete) To cooperate.
Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname

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