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

One cynical academic averred that politicians will always opt for showy handouts rather than unsexy long-term solutions, however inefficient that may be. The Economist, "Indian states are testing a new way of setting development priorities," 14 June 2018 Joe Campbell, a Jersey Village aerospace science instructor, was asked to help the cheerleaders with a handout. Jason Mcdaniel, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Falls softball hopes to keep run going against Kingwood," 9 May 2018 The meetings … included handouts with ethics advice and a discussion about how not to violate federal laws when traveling to campaign for political candidates. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Third Way makes an opening bid in the 2020 ‘ideas primary’," 15 Mar. 2018 But that's causing friction between those in Cuba who have to ask for help and those abroad who receive the frequent requests for a handout. Mario J. Pentón, miamiherald, "Cubans on the island want to talk to you about refilling their phone minutes," 19 June 2018 In its place, the city passed a new law that prohibited soliciting handouts from cars stopped at intersections. Kate Santich, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Downtown Orlando panhandling soaring, leaders say," 9 July 2018 If citizens of those countries found that EU membership meant more than just handouts from Brussels, but had a democratic obligation as well, would that change their thinking? Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Could power of the euro rein in Poland and Hungary where rule of law has not?," 17 May 2018 Homeless advocates have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Sacramento, alleging that a panhandling ordinance adopted in November violates the free speech rights of citizens asking for handouts. Sam Stanton And Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Sacramento hit with federal lawsuit seeking to overturn city’s panhandling ordinance | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Apr. 2018 Amazon is now so dominant and alluring that cities are trying to outdo one another with handouts to entice the company to build its second headquarters. Tracey Lien, latimes.com, "Silicon Valley played by a different set of rules. Facebook’s crisis could put an end to that," 23 Mar. 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

30 Sep 2018

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

See 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 reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!