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

Working in New York in the 1970s and ’80s, LeGaspi’s oeuvre is a pre-internet one, making his legacy almost unsearchable online save for a handful of photos and scattershot quotes. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Rick Owens Loves Larry LeGaspi—And You Should Too," 23 Jan. 2019 Similarly, dinner at Provisions, a working sculpture studio in Woodstock that artist Otto du Plessis and his wife, chef Maia du Plessis, open up for only a handful of private events, felt like an intimate dinner party among good friends. Pilar Guzmán, Condé Nast Traveler, "South Africa’s Other Big Five," 20 Dec. 2018 Fitbit is updating its Ionic and Versa watches today with the latest version of Fitbit OS, which adds support for a handful of new third-party apps. Natt Garun, The Verge, "Fitbit OS 3.0 brings more third-party app support, including Couch to 5K," 17 Dec. 2018 In a quadrant of the city increasingly dominated by construction sites and meat-market nightlife, Nielsen’s is among a handful of welcoming Old Seattle spots anchoring the neighborhood. Megan Burbank, The Seattle Times, "For a sweet dose of hygge, try Nielsen’s Pastries in Lower Queen Anne," 11 Dec. 2018 Greece is among the handful of European countries that have recorded more than 1,000 measles cases this year. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Measles cases have hit a record high in Europe. Blame austerity.," 24 Sep. 2018 My students, meeting new students around THE WORLD, choreographing, directing, creative directing, and dancing for a handful of huge beautifully talented and inspiring artists. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "There Were Signs That Demi Lovato Was Falling Back into Her Addiction," 26 July 2018 Roseanne was among the a handful of shows that scored Emmy nominations Thursday morning following the end of a series run, including The Americans and Orphan Black. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: 'Roseanne' Scores Two Nominations Following Series' Cancellation," 12 July 2018 And if not, will his new employers be the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees or the defending World Series champion Houston Astros? Hand is among a handful of All-Stars who could be actually be wearing a generic jersey by game time on July 17. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Will Manny Machado, Brad Hand and others get traded before All-Star Game?," 9 July 2018

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

22 Mar 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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