all hands

plural noun

Definition of all hands 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an entire ship's company

2 : everybody engaged in the same pursuit


\ˈȯl-ˈhandz \

Definition of all-hands (Entry 2 of 2)

: characterized by the participation or contributions of all individuals in a group an all-hands effort And this Friday, the agency's deputy administrator … will come to NASA Glenn, in part to hold an all-hands meeting with employees … — Becky Gaylord, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 5 Aug. 2003

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of all hands

Plural noun

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1840, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about all hands

Statistics for all hands

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for all hands

The first known use of all hands was in 1580

See more words from the same year

Comments on all hands

What made you want to look up all hands? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!