\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from handy


handiness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for handy

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of handy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The program included special training in leadership, communication, and advocacy — skills that could come in handy when giving away what was already well on its way to becoming one of history’s largest fortunes. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "Priscilla Chan charts an ambitious, unglamorous course to fight disease. (Her husband is involved, too.)," 11 Feb. 2020 That versatility should come in handy for an Arizona defense that yielded a league-worst 402 yards per game. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL mock draft 2020: Where do LSU, Clemson star players land in first round?," 16 Jan. 2020 Rain-sensing windshield wipers and wiper deicer, along with Vehicle Dynamic Control with Traction Control and Active Brake Limited Slip came in handy during the inclement weather encountered during my test period. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Nissan’s Armada offers luxury and utility in a big family vehicle with room for 8 (auto review)," 11 Jan. 2020 The studded running shoes come in handy for running in pretty much any weather. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s changing winters means the need for a bigger toy box," 28 Dec. 2019 On internal divisions and cajoling governments alike, Lagarde's political skills could come in handy. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "The man who saved the euro bows out amid 'unprecedented' dissent at Europe's central bank," 24 Oct. 2019 Their work several months ago came in handy this week as the Easy Fire encroached, prompting a mandatory evacuation on Wednesday. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Goats Munching on Vegetation Helped Save the Reagan Presidential Library in California Wildfire," 31 Oct. 2019 When power and cell service go down, though, that’s when a more traditional siren comes in handy. Mallory Moench is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "In disaster-prone California, emergency sirens get high-tech makeover," 30 Dec. 2019 Flares, a can of tire inflater, a small first-aid kit and a flashlight in the glove compartment will always come in handy. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Hear this travel idea," 27 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of handy


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handy

Time Traveler for handy

Time Traveler

The first known use of handy was circa 1525

See more words from the same year

Statistics for handy

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Handy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handy. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for handy


How to pronounce Handy (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on handy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handy

Spanish Central: Translation of handy

Nglish: Translation of handy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on handy

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!