handful

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

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Examples of handful in a Sentence

The children collected seashells by the handful. Our dog is a real handful.

Recent Examples on the Web

There, a handful of moms sit clustered on splintering wooden bleachers watching their daughters, ages 9 to 12, play softball. Kate Morgan, Woman's Day, "A New Jersey Softball Team Is Lifting Its City's Spirits," 21 Mar. 2019 Only a handful of big-name games ship with RTX features enabled. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "RTX on GTX: Nvidia is enabling ray tracing on some GeForce GTX graphics cards," 18 Mar. 2019 Since the 2016 paper was first published, a handful of additional distant solar system objects have been discovered, like The Goblin, Farout, and Farfarout, all of which are, somehow, names of real dwarf planets. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What We Know About Planet Nine," 9 Mar. 2019 Only a handful of Kennedys are still directly involved in the family business, but in the lead up to the midterm election, many of JFK's relatives are using their social media platforms to get out the vote. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Kennedy Family Is Using Instagram to Get Out the Vote This Election Season," 6 Nov. 2018 But the damage was apparent: At least seven stores were flooded, a handful of cars were stranded in the parking lot, and a section of nearby railroad tracks was underwater hours later. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "Recent 48-inch water main breaks in Philadelphia," 3 July 2018 That year, a handful of the crabs were found in Padilla Bay. Kimberly Cauvel, The Seattle Times, "Shell of invasive green crab found in Fidalgo Bay," 1 July 2018 The problem with this last claim is that the Snapdragon 710 only appeared in a handful of midrange phones from companies like Xiaomi—a huge brand in China, but one with almost no presence within the United States. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Qualcomm's Snapdragon 730G processor was built for kick-ass mobile gaming," 9 Apr. 2019 Flexport is one of a handful of technology startups that have emerged in recent years trying to use software to scrub inefficiencies from the logistics industry. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "SoftBank’s Vision Fund Leads $1 Billion Funding Round for Shipping Broker Flexport," 21 Feb. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of handful

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

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Statistics for handful

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handful

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

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More Definitions for handful

handful

noun

English Language Learners Definition of handful

: an amount that you can hold in your hand
: a small amount or number
informal : someone or something that is difficult to control

handful

noun
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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on handful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handful

Spanish Central: Translation of handful

Nglish: Translation of handful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on handful

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