hand·​out | \ ˈhand-ˌau̇t How to pronounce handout (audio) \

Definition of handout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a portion of food, clothing, or money given to or as if to a beggar
2 : a folder or circular of information for free distribution
3 : a prepared statement released to the news media

hand out

handed out; handing out; hands out

Definition of hand out (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give without charge
b : to give freely
2 : administer handed out a severe punishment

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Examples of handout in a Sentence

Noun He sat on the sidewalk asking for a handout. The family wasn't interested in government handouts. The handouts had all the major points of his speech outlined on them. Verb no system yet in place for handing out room assignments
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The two sides weren’t negotiating over different ways to address the crisis of state and local government; this was just an attempt by the GOP to hold the localities hostage to a handout to business. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The COVID relief bill isn’t nearly big enough," 21 Dec. 2020 The birds have become quite tame and sit just off the porch waiting for their morning handout. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s hard-core predators don’t have it as easy as you may think," 20 Dec. 2020 In March, a week after the dining-room shutdown, Pope’s company started an initiative called Everybody Eats, a food handout program for people in North Texas. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "Dallas restaurant workers will hand out 500 free Thanksgiving meals for anyone in need," 24 Nov. 2020 The Labour and Welfare Bureau will announce details of the handout plan later, Radio Television Hong Kong cited Chan as saying in a radio interview. Rebecca Choong Wilkins, Bloomberg.com, "Hong Kong to Give $645 to Those Found With Covid-19: RTHK," 22 Nov. 2020 Some say the $1,200 coronavirus handout the Hong Kong government provided earlier this year has helped sustain them. James Griffiths, CNN, "The exiles and the inmates: The heart-wrenching hand dealt to Hong Kong's democracy activists," 17 Dec. 2020 Also, small businesses that received a nearly $20,000 handout earlier this year won’t be able to get more, although some other measures were continued such as low-cost loans. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, "Japan Pulls Back From Cash Handouts in Covid-19 Response," 8 Dec. 2020 Human Services Programs of Carroll County executive director Scott Yard said the organization strives to give people in need a hand up, not a handout. Megan Woodward, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Holiday Hope: Human Services Programs of Carroll County helps people ‘get back on their feet’," 25 Nov. 2020 Critics say the special payment, which will go to about 3 million people in the country of 10.7 million, is a handout to increase the ruling parties’ popularity before the 2021 elections. Peter Laca, Bloomberg.com, "Central Bank Chief Slams Czech Tax Cut as Boosting Budget Risks," 29 Aug. 2020

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

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First Known Use of handout


1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for handout

Time Traveler

The first known use of handout was in 1648

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Statistics for handout

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Handout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handout. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for handout


How to pronounce hand out (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of handout

: something (such as food, clothing, or money) that is given to someone who is poor
: a document that is given to people


hand·​out | \ ˈhand-ˌau̇t How to pronounce handout (audio) \

Kids Definition of handout

: something (as food, clothing, or money) given to a poor person

More from Merriam-Webster on handout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handout

Nglish: Translation of handout for Spanish Speakers

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