hand

noun, often attributive
\ ˈhand How to pronounce hand (audio) \

Definition of hand

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(1) : the terminal part of the vertebrate forelimb when modified (as in humans) as a grasping organ : the body part at the end of the arm of a human, ape, or monkey holding a pair of scissors in his hand She put her hands over her eyes.
(2) : the forelimb segment (such as the terminal section of a bird's wing) of a vertebrate higher than the fishes that corresponds to the hand irrespective of its form or functional specialization
b : something resembling a hand: such as
(1) : an indicator or pointer on a dial the hands of a clock
(2) : a character ☞ used to direct particular attention (as to a note or paragraph) : fist, index
(3) : a cluster of bananas developed from a single flower group
(4) : a branched rootstock of ginger
(5) : a bunch of large leaves (as of tobacco) tied together usually with another leaf
c : a part serving the function of or resembling a hand: such as
(1) : the hind foot of an ape
(2) : the chela of a crustacean
2a : personal possession usually used in plural The documents fell into the hands of the enemy.
b : control, supervision usually used in plural left the matter in her hands
3a : one of two sides or aspects of an issue or argument On the one hand we can appeal for peace, and on the other, declare war.
b : side, direction soldiers fighting on either hand
4a : assistance or aid especially involving physical effort lend a hand
b : participation, interest had no hand in the decision
c : a round of applause Let's give them a big hand.
5a : skill, ability tried her hand at sailing
b : an instrumental part had a hand in the victory
6 : a pledge especially of betrothal or bestowal in marriage He asked for her hand in marriage.
7a(1) : the cards or pieces held by a player studied her hand
(2) : a player in a card game or board game
b : a single round in a game lost the first hand but won the next two
c : the force or solidity of one's position (as in negotiations) trying to strengthen their hand
8a(1) : a person employed at manual labor or general tasks a ranch hand
(2) : worker, employee employed over a hundred hands
b : a member of a ship's crew All hands on deck!
c : a person who performs or executes a particular work two portraits by the same hand
d : a person skilled in a particular action or pursuit a great hand at carpentry
e : a specialist or veteran in a usually designated activity or region a Latin America hand
9a : style of execution : workmanship the hand of a master
b : handiwork, doings the hand of vandals
c : the feel of or tactile reaction to something (such as silk or leather)
10a : style of penmanship : handwriting wrote in a fancy hand
b : signature
11 : a unit of measure equal to 4 inches (10.2 centimeters) used especially for the height of horses a horse that is 15 hands high
12 : a punch made with a specified hand knocked him out with a good right hand
at hand
1 : near in time or place : within reach use whatever ingredients are at hand
2 : currently receiving or deserving attention the business at hand
at the hands of or less commonly at the hand of
: by or through the action of suffering at the hands of a cruel dictator
by hand
1 : with the hands or a hand-worked implement (such as a tool or pen) rather than with a machine
2 : from one individual directly to another deliver the document by hand
in hand
1 : in one's possession or control had matters well in hand with money in hand
2 : in preparation a new play in hand
3 : under consideration took the matter in hand
on all hands or on every hand
: everywhere could hear scurrying noises on all hands
on hand
1 : in present possession or readily available kept supplies on hand
2 : in attendance : present A priest was on hand to console them.
3 : about to appear : pending There was trouble on hand.
on one's hands
: in one's possession or care too much time on my hands
out of hand
1 : out of control They let the situation get out of hand.
2 : without delay or deliberation also : in a summary or peremptory manner rejected the plan out of hand
3 : done with : finished
4 : with the hands fruit eaten out of hand
to hand
1 : within reach weapons ready to hand
2 : into possession The letter … has come to hand— George Washington

hand

verb
handed; handing; hands

Definition of hand (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to give, pass, or transmit with the hand hand a letter to her
b : to present or provide with handed him a surprise
2 : to lead, guide, or assist with the hand hand a lady into a bus
3a : furl hand the sail
b obsolete : to touch or manage with the hands also : to deal with
hand it to
: to give credit to : concede the excellence of I have to hand it to him. He did a wonderful job.

hand

adverb

Definition of hand (Entry 3 of 4)

: with the hands rather than by machine hand stitched

Hand

biographical name
\ ˈhand How to pronounce Hand (audio) \

Definition of Hand (Entry 4 of 4)

(Billings) Learned 1872–1961 American jurist

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for hand

Synonyms: Noun

angle, aspect, facet, phase, side

Synonyms: Verb

deliver, feed, furnish, give, hand over, provide, supply

Antonyms: Verb

hold (back), keep (back), reserve, retain, withhold

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of hand in a Sentence

Noun

These gloves will keep your hands warm. She put her hands over her eyes. He sat quietly with his hands folded in his lap. Do you need a hand?

Verb

was happy to hand her grandmother's cookie recipes to the parish ladies to put in their cookbook the clerk handed her the receipt
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On the other hand, Washington has more of a handle on their identity. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "California Golden Bears at Washington Huskies odds, picks and best bets," 6 Sep. 2019 Many Germans, on the other hand, are slow enunciators, delivering five to six syllables in the same amount of time. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: ‘Extreme male brain’ does not cause autism, a lost Maya city, and disappearing sharks," 6 Sep. 2019 Also available is an El Tesoro single-barrel tequila hand-selected by Cohn Restaurant Group’s Beverage Director Maurice DiMarino and his bar staff. San Diego Union-Tribune, "The Dish: Chef’s Fest, football specials top this week’s food events," 5 Sep. 2019 The Zoo explained that caretakers have partially hand-reared flamingo hatchlings in the past, but are excited to implement a new technique that will enable the parents to do all the nurturing of the chicks on their own. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Three Adorable Flamingo Chicks Just Hatched at the Oklahoma City Zoo," 5 Sep. 2019 The 4-year-old held mom Kate Middleton’s hand and hid a little behind her mother’s skirt, as they, dad Prince William and big brother Prince George arrived at Thomas’s Battersea school in London. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Just call her Charlotte Cambridge: Princess Charlotte starts school," 5 Sep. 2019 The ingredients get hand-mixed in a 321-degree flash of liquid nitrogen, where all the textures and flavors meet — turning into a swirl of vapor, at which point the ice cream freezes. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park shop is where ice cream meets weird science," 5 Sep. 2019 Moose hair moccasins The creator of these actually hand-dyed moose hair to embroider the flower pattern. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Peek at part of Eiteljorg's huge new Great Lakes art collection 2 years before it opens," 4 Sep. 2019 For example, the Minnesota State Patrol instituted a policy requiring troopers to use their phones only in hands-free mode prior to the law taking effect. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "2 St. Paul officers crash while looking at laptops; city OKs $100K to settle claims," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Alhaggagi, a 23-year-old Oakland, California man, was looking for weapons, and seized on a post referencing an available supply of Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "After massacres and thwarted plots, federal authorities confront limits in fighting domestic terror," 10 Sep. 2019 Yet there’s a reverence for the technologies that enable their words to reach a wider audience, via radio, or carefully hand-set, letter by letter, in a printing press. Katie Walsh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Vita and Virginia’ a swooning and subversive portrait of a literary love affair," 5 Sep. 2019 Yet there’s a reverence for the technologies that enable their words to reach a wider audience, via radio, or carefully hand-set, letter by letter, in a printing press. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Vita and Virginia,’ a swooning and subversive portrait of a literary love affair," 28 Aug. 2019 There are typically great specials now on notebooks, crayons, reams of loose-leaf paper and even hand sanitizer and facial tissue. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Shopping for school supplies," 22 Aug. 2019 As a result, Reed gets to hand-pick members of the party’s executive committee — people loyal to him and Worley. al, "Hey DNC, Alabama Democrats need an intervention," 16 Aug. 2019 The chain’s menu also includes fries, chicken sandwiches, black bean burgers, salads and hand-spun shakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Know, "Smashburger is celebrating its anniversary with 12-cent burgers," 15 Aug. 2019 The terrorists were equipped with AK-47 assault rifles, RPG grenade launchers and hand grenades. Fox News, "Israel kills 4 Palestinian militants carrying RPG launchers and assault rifles, Hamas denies involvement," 11 Aug. 2019 Georginio Wijnaldum was the only one of the nine takers to see his effort saved, leaving Gabriel Jesus to fire home and hand City the first trophy of the season. SI.com, "Liverpool 1-1 Man City (4-5 Pens): Report, Ratings & Reaction as Citizens Secure Community Shield," 4 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The steak tips are still hand-cut and tender and the bar pours a killer martini. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "These are 9 definitive Downriver dining destinations," 6 Sep. 2019 The Lafairs also hand-delivered games to various politicians, including the one Democratic Congressman who's represented Austin across several Texas map redraws: Lloyd Doggett (TX-35). Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering game that puts the fun in undermining democracy," 19 Aug. 2019 One of those was his father, a technical illustrator who worked in the space program in the 1970s and was the artist who hand-painted the American flag on the large shuttle orbiter mockup in Building 9 at Johnson Space Center. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Friendswood takes pride in having 3 residents at once in space," 26 July 2019 Some, such as mathematician Katherine Johnson—who hand-calculated the details of the trajectory of the flight that would make Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962—stayed behind the scenes. National Geographic, "Countdown to a new era inSpace," 17 June 2019 Inside, tables are lit with candles and strewn with flowers hand-dipped in wax. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, "How Sackler Became the Most Toxic Name in Philanthropy," 16 May 2019 The chief pollinators of the lettuce garden that the farming pioneer Frank Bienkowski planted more than 200 years ago, the bees go hand-in-hand with the fresh produce offered on the menu throughout the summer season. Discover Magazine, "One-on-One with Executive Chef Kevin Erving," 6 July 2018 Gulluni said although investigators had been hand-digging through areas of the property Friday morning, no other remains have been recovered. Jerome Campbell, Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Police discover three bodies at Springfield home," 1 June 2018 The intelligence community's credibility just got a big boost, too An effort to undermine the broader intelligence community goes hand-in-hand with Trump and his allies' assessment that Russia was indifferent about who became president. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "The Russia report Trump likes best just took a big credibility hit," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hand

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hand

Noun, Verb, and Adverb

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German hant hand

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hand

Dictionary Entries near hand

hanch

Hancock

hancockite

hand

Hand

hand's turn

hand-adz

Statistics for hand

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hand

The first known use of hand was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hand

hand

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the body part at the end of your arm that includes your fingers and thumb
used in some phrases to refer to a person
: power, possession, or control

hand

verb

English Language Learners Definition of hand (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (something) to someone using your hands

hand

noun
\ ˈhand How to pronounce hand (audio) \

Kids Definition of hand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the body part at the end of the human arm that includes the fingers and thumb
2 : a bodily structure (as the hind foot of an ape) like the human hand in function or form
3 : a pointer on a clock or watch
4 : help entry 2 sense 1, assistance I gave her a hand loading the truck.
5 : control entry 2 sense 1 The fort is in the hands of the enemy.
6 : one side of a problem On the one hand we could stay. On the other hand we could go.
7 : an outburst of applause Give them a hand.
8 : the cards held by a player in a card game
9 : a hired worker : laborer
10 : a promise of marriage
12 : ability sense 1 I tried my hand at painting.
13 : a unit of measure equal to four inches (about ten centimeters) The horse is 15 hands high.
14 : a part or share in doing something She had a hand in the crime.
at hand
: near in time or place The hour is at hand.
by hand
: without the use of automation : using the hands The stone was carved by hand.
in hand
: in someone's possession or control Map in hand, he's ready to go. I've got the situation well in hand.
on hand
1 : available for use Keep some extra batteries on hand.
2 : present entry 3 sense 2 Please be on hand when the guests arrive.
out of hand
: out of control The party got out of hand.

hand

verb
handed; handing

Kids Definition of hand (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give or pass with the hand Please hand me the knife.

hand

noun, often attributive
\ ˈhand How to pronounce hand (audio) \

Medical Definition of hand

1a(1) : the terminal part of the vertebrate forelimb when modified (as in humans) as a grasping organ
(2) : the forelimb segment (as the terminal section of a bird's wing) of a vertebrate higher than the fishes that corresponds to the hand irrespective of its form or functional specialization
b : a part serving the function of or resembling a hand especially : the hind foot of an ape
c : something resembling a hand especially : an indicator or pointer on a dial
2 : a unit of measure equal to 4 inches or 10.2 centimeters used especially for the height of horses

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hand

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hand

Spanish Central: Translation of hand

Nglish: Translation of hand for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hand for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hand

Comments on hand

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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