\ˈhan-dē \
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 \

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

clever, cunning, deft, dexterous (also dextrous)

Antonyms: Adjective

butterfingered, ham-fisted, ham-handed, handless, heavy-handed, unhandy

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Examples of handy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But any viewer should keep a second screen handy to watch Trump’s Twitter feed. Ken Thomas, The Seattle Times, "WHAT TO WATCH: After turbulent campaign, it’s up to voters," 7 Nov. 2018 Brackish groundwater would seep out of the walls to fill the trench, which also provided a handy way to catch rainwater. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "How did Easter Islanders survive without wells or streams?," 17 Oct. 2018 And when all else fails, keep a surprise bag of toys handy. Nadine Jolie Courtney, Redbook, "Genius Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy on Road Trips," 16 Aug. 2018 Nothing super-heavy maybe, but enough to keep the umbrella handy. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, "PM Update: Scattered showers or storms possible through evening, with a better chance of rain Friday," 5 July 2018 Get a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution, read it each year and keep it handy. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Rodricks: 10 ways to be a great American citizen for the Fourth of July," 3 July 2018 Keep a bucket of water or the hose handy when lighting fireworks. Heloise, Houston Chronicle, "Don’t have a blast on the Fourth," 1 July 2018 Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap. Gabe Hauari, The Courier-Journal, "Can I shoot fireworks in Louisville? Your July 4 questions answered," 28 June 2018 The biggest deficiency is a handy way to get to the airport, but carfare will be offset by not having to pay for parking. Randy Essex, Detroit Free Press, "I've decided to go carless in Detroit — and it's liberating," 19 May 2018

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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Statistics for handy

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handy

The first known use of handy was circa 1525

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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 \
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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on handy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handy

Spanish Central: Translation of handy

Nglish: Translation of handy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handy for Arabic Speakers

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