\ ˈhan-dē How to pronounce handy (audio) \
handier; handiest

Definition of handy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : conveniently near
b : convenient for use
c of a ship : easily handled
2 : clever in using the hands especially in a variety of useful ways handy with a hammer as well as with a paintbrush


biographical name
Han·​dy | \ ˈhan-dē How to pronounce Handy (audio) \

Definition of Handy (Entry 2 of 2)

W(illiam) C(hristopher) 1873–1958 American blues musician

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Other Words from handy


handiness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for handy

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of handy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Chinese officials will keep the words handy to read back to U.S. officials in future discussions about trade distortions or subsidies. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "John Kerry’s Climate Kowtow," 19 Apr. 2021 Remove your coverings by mid-day so plants don't overheat, but keep them handy because there is often more than one frosty forecast per season. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, "5 Quick Ways to Protect Your Plants from Frost," 17 Apr. 2021 Water, putty knife, mild soap or detergent (that doesn't contain bleach), a gentle scrubbing brush or cloth, and a rug cleaner are great to have handy in this situation. Daley Quinn, Southern Living, "How To Get Paint Out of Carpet," 14 Apr. 2021 Boating and anchoring must be done with care, and boaters need to keep a knife handy to cut an anchor rope in an emergency. Bill May, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Bill May: Springtime means shad fishing | OUTDOORS COMMENTARY," 10 Apr. 2021 Tools to have handy on installation day include a squeegee to remove any bubbles and smooth the paper to the surface, a utility knife to cut each panel to size ahead of time and then trim excess paper, a level and a tape measure. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "How to use peel-and-stick wallpaper to completely transform your space," 1 Apr. 2021 The wary could see it as a reminder to keep that sweater handy. Washington Post, "It was winter in the morning, spring by afternoon," 21 Mar. 2021 Utah’s statewide mask mandate may end April 10, but keep those face coverings handy. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Even when Utah lifts mandate, you’ll still need a mask to shop at grocery stores," 18 Mar. 2021 Be sure to have a spoon handy because this sauce is too thick to pour. cleveland, "The best and worst foods we ate during grocery store showdown taste tests 2020," 24 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handy.' 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 handy


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for handy

Time Traveler

The first known use of handy was circa 1525

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Statistics for handy

Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Handy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handy. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for handy



English Language Learners Definition of handy

: very useful or helpful
: near or close
: clever or skillful in using your hands, doing small jobs, etc.


\ ˈhan-dē How to pronounce handy (audio) \
handier; handiest

Kids Definition of handy

1 : very useful or helpful a handy tool
2 : within easy reach Keep a towel handy.
3 : clever or skillful especially with the hands He's handy with a paintbrush.

More from Merriam-Webster on handy

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Nglish: Translation of handy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handy for Arabic Speakers

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