Meaning of HAND in English


I. hand 1 S1 W1 /hænd/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ hand , ↑ handful ; adjective : ↑ underhand , ↑ handy ; verb : ↑ hand ; adverb : ↑ handily ]

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . PART OF BODY [countable] the part of your body at the end of your arm, including your fingers and thumb, that you use to hold things:

Steve gripped the steering wheel tightly with both hands.

In her hand was a tattered old photograph.

2 . HELP a hand help with something – used in the following phrases

need/want a hand

Do you need a hand packing?

give/lend (somebody) a hand

Can you give me a hand to lift this?

If you get stuck, Denise is always willing to lend a hand.

I could do with a hand/use a hand (=it would be useful to have some help)

We could certainly do with a hand.

⇨ a helping hand at ↑ help 1 (9)

3 . CONTROL [singular, uncountable] control, power, or influence that someone has:

The President has strengthened the hand of the gun lobby.

This matter is too important to be left in the hands of (=in the control of) an inexperienced lawyer.

a manager with a firm hand (=who controls things strictly)

4 . get out of hand if a situation or person gets out of hand, they become impossible to control any longer:

The demonstration was getting out of hand.

5 . on the other hand ( also on the one hand ... on the other hand ) used to give another opinion or fact that should be considered as well as the one you have just given:

I’d like to eat out, but on the other hand I should be trying to save money.

► Do not say ‘on one hand’. Say on the one hand .

6 . hands off spoken used to say that someone cannot have, take, or touch something:

Hey! Hands off that CD! It’s mine!

Tell your little brother to keep his hands off my car.

⇨ ↑ hands-off

7 . in hand

a) if something is in hand, it is being done or dealt with:

Plans are in hand to perform ‘Oz’ next semester.

Lisa seemed to have things in hand by the time he returned.

job/task/matter etc in hand

Our officers have to concentrate 100 per cent on the task in hand.

take somebody in hand (=begin to deal with someone’s problems etc)

b) British English if you work a week, a month etc in hand, you do not get paid until after you have worked two weeks, two months etc

c) British English if you have time, money etc in hand, you have it available:

I usually have a few days’ leave in hand at the end of the year.

d) British English if a team or player has a game in hand in a competition, they still have another game to play in which they could gain more points

8 . in the hands of somebody/in sb’s hands being dealt with or cared for by someone:

The matter is in the hands of the police.

in good/safe/capable etc hands

You can be sure your children are in good hands.

The fear is that nuclear secrets could fall into the wrong hands.

► Do not say ‘in the hand of someone’. Say in the hands of someone . ⇨ a safe pair of hands at ↑ safe 1 (11)

9 . hands up

a) with your arms straight up in the air – used especially to tell someone to do this as a sign that they will not attack you:

Hands up! You’re under arrest!

The men emerged from the building with their hands up.

b) used to tell people to put their arm straight up in the air if they know the answer to a question or want to say something:

Hands up if you agree with what Eric was saying.

10 . at hand formal

a) likely to happen soon:

Recent economic performance suggests that a major crisis is at hand.

b) close to you and available to be used:

Don’t worry, help is at hand!

c) needing to be dealt with now:

Peter turned his attention to the task at hand.

11 . to hand British English something that is to hand is close to you, so that you can reach it easily

12 . on hand close by and ready when needed:

Our staff are always on hand to help.

13 . by hand

a) done or made by a person rather than a machine:

We had to wash our clothes by hand.

b) delivered by someone personally, rather than being sent through the post, emailed etc

14 . (at) first hand if you know or experience something first hand, you have personal experience of it:

a chance to view at first hand the workings of the court

15 . (at) second/third/fourth hand if you know something second, third etc hand, someone tells you about it, but you have no personal experience of it:

Until now, information has been second or third hand, but this news comes from someone who was there.

16 . at the hands of somebody caused or done by a particular person – used about something bad or unpleasant that someone does:

Anyone who suffered at the hands of care workers will be entitled to compensation.

This is their third defeat at the hands of the world champions.

17 . get your hands on something informal to succeed in getting something:

She’s only marrying him to get her hands on his money.

18 . lay your hands on something to find or get something:

I would read any book I could lay my hands on.

19 . come to hand if something comes to hand, it is there for you to use – used especially about something that is there by chance:

They ran, picking up whatever weapons came to hand.

20 . get your hands on somebody spoken to catch someone you are angry with:

Just wait till I get my hands on you!

21 . have a hand in something to influence or be involved in something:

He had a hand in both goals.

22 . hand in hand

a) (go) hand in hand if two things go hand in hand, they are closely connected:

Wealth and power go hand in hand in most societies.

(go) hand in hand with

They say that genius often goes hand in hand with madness.

b) if two people walk, stand etc hand in hand, they walk, stand etc while they are holding each other’s hand:

They walked hand in hand in silence up the path.

23 . have something/somebody on your hands to have a difficult job, problem, situation etc to deal with:

I’m afraid we have a murder on our hands, Inspector.

24 . be off your hands if something or someone is off your hands, you are not responsible for them any more:

Once this problem is off our hands we can relax for a while.

take somebody/something off sb’s hands

She wants someone to take the kids off her hands occasionally.

25 . try your hand at (doing) something to try to do something you have not tried before:

John dreamed of being a writer and had tried his hand at poetry.

26 . turn your hand to (doing) something to do something well, even if it is the first time you have tried:

Larry’s one of those men who can turn their hand to anything.

27 . out of hand without even stopping to consider what someone has suggested, asked for etc

reject/dismiss/refuse etc something out of hand

Aromatherapy was dismissed out of hand by traditional doctors.

28 . hands down easily

win (something)/beat somebody hands down

Nigel always won hands down in any argument.

29 . have your hands full to be very busy or too busy:

Can’t it wait? I already have my hands full.

30 . good with your hands skilful at making things

31 . on either/every hand written on both sides or in every direction:

Thick forest stood on either hand.

32 . get your hands dirty

a) informal to do hard or dirty physical work – usually used in questions or negative statements:

It’s not that the jobs aren’t there, it’s just that she doesn’t want to get her hands dirty.

b) to get involved in the difficult, dishonest, or unpleasant side of something:

He never talked to the media or got his hands dirty in any way.

33 . keep your hand in to do something that you used to do a lot, so you do not forget how to do it:

You should at least work part-time, just to keep your hand in.

34 . hand in glove closely connected with someone, especially in an illegal activity:

Far from being independent, the government and media work hand in glove.

35 . hand over fist informal if you gain or lose something hand over fist, you gain or lose it very quickly:

Five years ago, the company was losing money hand over fist.

36 . a big hand spoken used to tell the people who are watching a performance to ↑ clap or ↑ cheer loudly:

Let’s all give the girls a big hand.

37 . all hands on deck ( also all hands to the pumps British English ) informal used to say that everyone is needed to help in a particular situation:

With only half an hour to get everything ready, it was all hands on deck.

38 . the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing used to say that two parts of an organization that should be doing the same thing are each doing different things without the other knowing

39 . WORKER [countable] someone who does physical work on a farm, factory, ship etc:

farm hands

40 . CARDS [countable]

a) the playing cards given to one person in a game:

a winning hand

b) a single game of cards

41 .

CLOCK [countable] a long thin piece of metal that points at the numbers on a clock

hour/minute/second hand

42 . WRITING [singular] old-fashioned someone’s ↑ handwriting

43 . sb’s hands are tied if someone’s hands are tied, they cannot help in a particular situation because of rules, laws etc:

The bank claims its hands are tied by federal regulators.

44 . tie/bind somebody hand and foot

a) to tie up someone’s hands and feet

b) to make it very difficult or impossible for someone to do what they think is best

45 . can do something with one hand (tied) behind your back spoken used to say that you can do something very easily

46 . not do a hand’s turn British English old-fashioned informal to do no work at all

47 . sb’s hand (in marriage) old-fashioned permission for a man to marry a particular woman:

He asked for her hand in marriage.

48 . HORSE [countable] a unit for measuring the height of a horse, equal to about ten centimetres

⇨ ↑ cash-in-hand , ↑ freehand , ↑ hands-on , ↑ left-hand , ↑ right-hand , ⇨ be an old hand (at something) at ↑ old (17), ⇨ bite the hand that feeds you at ↑ bite 1 (15), ⇨ have blood on your hands at ↑ blood 1 (2), ⇨ have your hands/fingers in the till at ↑ till 2 (3), ⇨ force sb’s hand at ↑ force 2 (7), ⇨ overplay your hand at ↑ overplay (2), ⇨ shake sb’s hand/shake hands with somebody at ↑ shake 1 (4), ⇨ wash your hands of something at ↑ wash 1 (5)

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ sb’s right/left hand

She held the book in her right hand.

▪ somebody's free hand (=the hand someone is not already using)

Amy was stroking the dog with her free hand.

▪ a gloved hand (=covered with a glove)

He stretched out a gloved hand.

▪ an outstretched hand (=stretched out towards someone or something)

She took her father's outstretched hand and began to walk from the room.

▪ somebody's cupped hand (=in the shape of a cup)

Hamil shook the dice in his cupped hand.

■ verbs

▪ wave your hand

Marta waved a hand to attract his attention.

▪ clap your hands

They were singing and clapping their hands.

▪ wash your hands

Go wash your hands before dinner.

▪ hold hands (with somebody)

Joanne and Kevin held hands on the sofa.

▪ shake sb’s hand ( also shake hands with somebody )

‘Nice to meet you,’ he said, as they shook hands.

▪ take sb’s hand (=hold someone’s hand)

He reached across the table and took her hand in his.

▪ take somebody by the hand (=hold someone’s hand in order to take them somewhere)

She took the boy by the hand and led him across the street.

▪ join hands (=take hold of the hands of people on either side of you)

They stood in a circle and joined hands.

▪ clasp your hands (=hold them together tightly)

Emily clasped her hands together and stood there nervously.

▪ fold your hands (=put your hands together and rest them on something)

Lily folded both hands on her stomach.

▪ raise your hand ( also put your hand up ) (=lift your hand, especially when you want to ask or answer a question)

If you know the answer, raise your hand.

▪ somebody's hands shake/tremble

His hands trembled as he lifted the cup.

▪ somebody's hand holds something

His other hand was holding his mobile phone.

▪ somebody's hand touches something

Daniel's hand touched mine.

▪ somebody's hand grips something (=hold something firmly)

Her hands gripped the steering wheel very tightly.

▪ somebody's hand grabs/grasps something (=take and hold something firmly)

He felt Connor's hand grasp his shoulder.

▪ somebody's hand tightens

Her hand tightened on the knife handle.

■ nouns

▪ a hand movement

The disease means she has trouble controlling her hand movements.

▪ a hand gesture/signal (=a movement of your hand to show what you mean)

He made a rude hand gesture at the other driver.

■ phrases

▪ in sb’s hand

He had a suitcase in his hand.

▪ on your hands and knees (=in a crawling position)

They got down on their hands and knees to search.

▪ the palm of your hand (=the inside surface of your hand)

The phone could fit into the palm of his hand.

▪ the back of your hand (=the outside surface of your hand)

Let a dog sniff the back of your hand, rather than your fingers.

▪ with your bare hands (=without using a tool, weapon, machine etc)

With his bare hands he forced the doors apart.

II. hand 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ hand , ↑ handful ; adjective : ↑ underhand , ↑ handy ; verb : ↑ hand ; adverb : ↑ handily ]

1 . to give something to someone else with your hand

hand somebody something

He handed the teacher a slip of paper.

hand something to somebody

He lit a cigarette and handed it to her.

This form must be handed to all employees.

2 . you have to hand it to somebody spoken used to say that you admire someone:

You have to hand it to her. She’s really made a success of that company.

hand something ↔ around ( also hand something round British English ) phrasal verb

to offer something to each person in a group:

Willie helped hand the mugs around.

hand something ↔ back phrasal verb

1 . to give something back to the person who gave it to you, with your hand

hand something ↔ back to

Kurt examined the document and handed it back to her.

hand somebody something ↔ back

She handed him his pen back.

2 . to give something back to the person who used to own it

hand something ↔ back to

The land was handed back to its original owner.

hand somebody something ↔ back

The government has promised to hand investors back their money.

hand something ↔ down phrasal verb

1 . to give or leave something to people who will live after you

hand something ↔ down to

The ring was handed down to her from her grandmother.

stories handed down by word of mouth

⇨ ↑ hand-me-down

2 . hand down a decision/ruling/sentence etc to officially announce a decision, punishment etc

hand something ↔ in phrasal verb

to give something to someone in authority:

Tom has handed in his resignation.

Did you hand your homework in on time?

hand something ↔ on phrasal verb

to give something to someone:

He was accused of handing on government secrets.

hand something ↔ out phrasal verb

to give something to each person in a group SYN distribute :

Could you start handing these books out please?

hand something ↔ out to

He was handing out leaflets to members of the audience.

⇨ ↑ handout

hand over phrasal verb

1 . hand something ↔ over to give something to someone with your hand, especially because they have asked for it or should have it:

The soldiers were ordered to hand over their guns.

hand something ↔ over to

He handed the phone over to me.

2 . to give someone power or responsibility over something which you used to be in charge of

hand something ↔ over (to somebody)

On his retirement, he handed the business over to his son.

Political control has been handed over to religious leaders.

hand over to

Now she feels the time has come to hand over to someone else.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.