hand·​out | \ ˈhand-ˌau̇t \

Definition of handout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a portion of food, clothing, or money given to or as if to a beggar
2 : a folder or circular of information for free distribution
3 : a prepared statement released to the news media

hand out


Definition of hand out (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give without charge
b : to give freely
2 : administer handed out a severe punishment

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of handout in a Sentence


He sat on the sidewalk asking for a handout. The family wasn't interested in government handouts. The handouts had all the major points of his speech outlined on them.


no system yet in place for handing out room assignments
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Reporters were not allowed to take their own photos or videos but were instead supplied with handout images. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "How images of separated children are shaping the immigration debate," 18 June 2018 Photo: handout/Reuters The U.S. also has asked Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia to invest in power and other infrastructure in southern Iraq, an American official said. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "U.S. Pushes Iraq to Wean Itself Off Iranian Energy," 23 Nov. 2018 Those requests have not yet been answered, the handout said. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Anti-poverty activists finally allowed to enter the Kentucky Capitol," 10 July 2018 The homeowner who previously received a taxpayer handout has effectively been put on notice: Additional problems could result in fines up to $250 to $1,000 per day. OregonLive.com, "$30,000 loan by state of Oregon keeps flophouse open," 13 June 2018 If the researchers’ hypothesis, that the unconditional handout will have a positive impact on early child development, is confirmed, then old arguments about welfare will get a new evidentiary kick. The Economist, "Does growing up poor harm brain development?," 3 May 2018 Canavan said, according to The Guardian, referring to a line for handouts. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg Schooled World Leaders on Climate Change at a United Nations Summit," 5 Dec. 2018 The government has sought to mitigate the pain with cash handouts, tax reductions and allocations for affordable homes. Anisah Shukry, Bloomberg.com, "Malaysia's Election May Not Be a Done Deal After All," 6 May 2018 Photo: handout/Reuters U.S. defense companies have fostered close relations with Saudi leaders for decades. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "U.S.-Saudi Defense Ties on Track to Weather Controversy," 18 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of handout


1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handout

Statistics for handout

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handout

The first known use of handout was in 1648

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for handout



English Language Learners Definition of handout

: something (such as food, clothing, or money) that is given to someone who is poor

: a document that is given to people


hand·​out | \ ˈhand-ˌau̇t \

Kids Definition of handout

: something (as food, clothing, or money) given to a poor person

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on handout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handout

Spanish Central: Translation of handout

Nglish: Translation of handout for Spanish Speakers

Comments on handout

What made you want to look up handout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!