Definition of all hands in English:

all hands

noun

  • 1Nautical
    Nautical. The full complement of sailors belonging to the crew of a ship.

  • 2informal Informal. In extended use: all the members of a party, especially when collectively engaged in work; everyone.

Phrases

  • all hands to the pump

    • historical An order to every member of a ship's crew to pump water from the ship in an emergency. Now chiefly historical.

    • historical Figurative. Used to indicate (the need for) intense or urgent activity or effort by all the members of a party, or by a large number of people, especially in an emergency.

  • all hands to the pump

    • historical An order to every member of a ship's crew to pump water from the ship in an emergency. Now chiefly historical.

    • historical Figurative. Used to indicate (the need for) intense or urgent activity or effort by all the members of a party, or by a large number of people, especially in an emergency.

  • all hands on deck

    • 1A cry or signal used on board ship, typically in an emergency, to indicate that all crew members are to go on deck.

      • ‘Harbour Master Cpt Phillip Cowman said it will be all hands on deck over the next 24 hours to ensure everyone gets berthed safely and on time.’
      • ‘We were now encountering the last minute and Dingle had all hands on deck to rescue their rapidly sinking ship.’
      • ‘As they neared land Brian called for all hands on deck.’
      • ‘Rounding the rock is a thrilling experience with all hands on deck to trim the sails for the return leg, another 170 miles to the Bishop Rock off the Scilly Isles, and then 90 miles to the finishing line at Plymouth.’
      • ‘When conditions finally permitted, it was all hands on deck as we formed teams heaving on a forest of ropes to hoist Eda's huge sails.’
      • ‘It will be a case of all hands on deck as the Fleet of the Royal Australian Navy faces another hectic year, according to Maritime Commander, RADM Raydon Gates.’
      1. 1.1Used to indicate that the involvement of all members of a team is required.
        ‘it was all hands on deck getting breakfast ready’
        • ‘But I will admit that hosting such an event requires all hands on deck.’
        • ‘We are getting orders from all over the world, which means that it is all hands on deck.’
        • ‘The actor-musician productions have the human aspect because they're very much all hands on deck.’
        • ‘So, it is all hands on deck and this is an absolute emergency situation that we're going to do everything that we can do with the resources that we have to assist the people who need us the most.’
        • ‘It is all hands on deck and hopefully we can get the right result.’
        • ‘The last few minutes of this meal requires all hands on deck.’
        • ‘Strange's US ship of golfers had cruised without all hands on deck for the crucial day.’
        • ‘I don't want to set up any huge promises, but we need all hands on deck.’
        • ‘The front-of-house team start today - it's all hands on deck to get the event up and running for the press and private view tomorrow.’
        • ‘He said: ‘It's all hands on deck to get the crime figures down but it remains to be seen whether this will make any difference.’’
  • all hands on deck

    • 1A cry or signal used on board ship, typically in an emergency, to indicate that all crew members are to go on deck.

      • ‘Harbour Master Cpt Phillip Cowman said it will be all hands on deck over the next 24 hours to ensure everyone gets berthed safely and on time.’
      • ‘We were now encountering the last minute and Dingle had all hands on deck to rescue their rapidly sinking ship.’
      • ‘As they neared land Brian called for all hands on deck.’
      • ‘Rounding the rock is a thrilling experience with all hands on deck to trim the sails for the return leg, another 170 miles to the Bishop Rock off the Scilly Isles, and then 90 miles to the finishing line at Plymouth.’
      • ‘When conditions finally permitted, it was all hands on deck as we formed teams heaving on a forest of ropes to hoist Eda's huge sails.’
      • ‘It will be a case of all hands on deck as the Fleet of the Royal Australian Navy faces another hectic year, according to Maritime Commander, RADM Raydon Gates.’
      1. 1.1Used to indicate that the involvement of all members of a team is required.
        ‘it was all hands on deck getting breakfast ready’
        • ‘But I will admit that hosting such an event requires all hands on deck.’
        • ‘We are getting orders from all over the world, which means that it is all hands on deck.’
        • ‘The actor-musician productions have the human aspect because they're very much all hands on deck.’
        • ‘So, it is all hands on deck and this is an absolute emergency situation that we're going to do everything that we can do with the resources that we have to assist the people who need us the most.’
        • ‘It is all hands on deck and hopefully we can get the right result.’
        • ‘The last few minutes of this meal requires all hands on deck.’
        • ‘Strange's US ship of golfers had cruised without all hands on deck for the crucial day.’
        • ‘I don't want to set up any huge promises, but we need all hands on deck.’
        • ‘The front-of-house team start today - it's all hands on deck to get the event up and running for the press and private view tomorrow.’
        • ‘He said: ‘It's all hands on deck to get the crime figures down but it remains to be seen whether this will make any difference.’’
  • all hands and the cook

    • Originally US: every member of a ship's crew without exception; (also in extended use) all the members of a party, with no exception; a large number of people.

Origin

Late 16th century; earliest use found in Henry Smith (c1560–1591), Church of England clergyman. From all + the plural of hand.

Pronunciation

all hands

/ˌɔːl ˈhan(d)z/