hand·​ful | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce handful (audio) \
plural handfuls\ ˈhan(d)-​ˌfu̇lz How to pronounce handful (audio) \ also handsful\ ˈhan(d)z-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce handful (audio) \

Definition of handful

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

The children collected seashells by the handful. Our dog is a real handful.
Recent Examples on the Web The remainder of the No. 1 teams remained the same though there could be a shakeup next week, especially in the higher classifications, with a handful of top 10 matchups between 7A and 6A teams. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 21 Sep. 2022 Yet Borg, along with a handful of other state financial watchdogs, is at the vanguard of policing the trillion-dollar digital asset market, raising questions about where the industry’s Washington minders have been. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2022 Blonde and its flaws are already being diagnosed with a handful of compatible but unflattering descriptors (pretentious, misogynistic, masochistic, brutal). K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 17 Sep. 2022 The iPhone 14 is a very good phone, with a handful of useful upgrades over the 13. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 14 Sep. 2022 With low prices like these, why not fill your closet with a handful of sweaters that will keep you feeling warm and looking good all season long? Rachel Simon, Peoplemag, 10 Sep. 2022 The group of mostly men — with a handful of women and children — from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela arrived about 4:15 p.m. and disembarked from the two buses before lining up to board two CTA buses that had been waiting hours for them. Laura Rodríguez Presa, Chicago Tribune, 9 Sep. 2022 On March 19, Leshchenko left the Special Place for a few hours to grab a drink at a bar with the handful of his friends who’d remained in Kyiv. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, 8 Sep. 2022 Many of our native bees, for instance, have relationships with just a handful of native plant species. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 8 Sep. 2022 See More

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 the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for handful

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near handful

hand frame


hand gallop

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Statistics for handful

Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Handful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handful. Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for handful


hand·​ful | \ ˈhand-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce handful (audio) \
plural handfuls\ -​ˌfu̇lz \ or handsful\ ˈhandz-​ˌfu̇l \

Kids Definition of handful

1 : as much or as many as the hand will grasp
2 : a small amount or number Only a handful of people came.

More from Merriam-Webster on handful

Nglish: Translation of handful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handful for Arabic Speakers


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