handful

noun hand·ful \ ˈhan(d)-ˌfu̇l \
|Updated on: 14 Jun 2018
plural handfuls play \ˈhan(d)-ˌfu̇lz\ also handsful play \ˈhan(d)z-ˌfu̇l\
1 : as much or as many as the hand will grasp
2 : a small quantity or number
  • a handful of people
3 : as much as one can manage
  • the kids are quite a handful

Examples of handful in a Sentence

  1. The children collected seashells by the handful.

  2. Our dog is a real handful.

Recent Examples of handful from the Web

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

First Known Use of handful

before 12th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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HANDFUL Defined for English Language Learners

handful

  • : an amount that you can hold in your hand

  • : a small amount or number

  • : someone or something that is difficult to control


HANDFUL Defined for Kids

handful

noun hand·ful \ ˈhand-ˌfu̇l \
plural handfuls \-ˌfu̇lz\ or handsful \ˈhandz-ˌfu̇l\
1 : as much or as many as the hand will grasp
2 : a small amount or number Only a handful of people came.


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