all hands

1 of 2

plural noun

: an entire ship's company
: everybody engaged in the same pursuit


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

Word History

First Known Use

Plural Noun

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1840, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of all hands was in 1580

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Cite this Entry

“All hands.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

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