handful

noun

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)
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 Two thousand miles away, a handful of students held a largely silent protest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium. TIME, 13 May 2024 Only a handful of pitchers have thrived after a second elbow reconstruction. Dylan Hernández, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for handful 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'handful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near handful

Cite this Entry

“Handful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handful. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

handful

noun
hand·​ful ˈhan(d)-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce handful (audio)
plural handfuls -ˌfu̇lz How to pronounce handful (audio) also handsful ˈhan(d)z-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce handful (audio)
1
: as much or as many as the hand will grasp
a handful of jelly beans
2
: a small quantity or number
a handful of people
3
: as much as one can control or manage
the three babies are quite a handful

More from Merriam-Webster on handful

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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