Definition of hand in English:



  • 1The end part of a person's arm beyond the wrist, including the palm, fingers, and thumb.

    ‘the palm of her hand’
    ‘he was leading her by the hand’
    • ‘She grinned and pulled a triangle of white paper out of her pocket and put it in Faith's hand.’
    • ‘The rash doesn't itch and is usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.’
    • ‘Fold the thumb of the left hand into the palm of the hand and wrap the fingers around the thumb.’
    • ‘He ties the man's hand in front of his chest with a length of gauze, and wraps the body in a sheet.’
    • ‘He opened his eyes, looking up to see the woman's hand holding a damp cloth to his face.’
    • ‘Drop the pulleys to the lowest setting, grasp a handle in each hand and lie back on the bench.’
    • ‘Four days later he developed a mild temperature, a sore throat, blisters on the palms of his hands and weals on his tongue.’
    • ‘Flatten the pieces out in the palm of your hand, stretching with your fingers.’
    • ‘Squeeze the soil ball between your thumb and fingers in the palm of your hand to make a ribbon.’
    • ‘Ever since she has taken to wearing her bag over her shoulder with her other hand pushed through the handles and in her pocket.’
    • ‘Hold your hands, palms downwards, over the cloth and send your witch-power into the herbs.’
    • ‘She was holding a duffel bag and pair of high heels in one hand, and a bottle of Tylenol in the other.’
    • ‘Father and son put their hands palm to palm, separated by the glass.’
    • ‘I raised both of my hands, palms outward, and performed some of the most basic bhangra moves.’
    • ‘After burning incense on the stove, he began to chant, holding out his hands with his palms upward.’
    • ‘Fingers, thumbs and hands were broken in combat, but there are few visible signs of the mutilation.’
    • ‘Martindale's hand was up in the air like a schoolboy waiting for the teacher to call on him.’
    • ‘She holds a vessel in one hand and a cloth in another as she pours a libation before him.’
    • ‘He suddenly cries out in pain as the hot knife handle burns his hand, but he doesn't let go.’
    • ‘The spike from the fence went through his wrist and into the palm of his hand.’
    fist, palm
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A prehensile organ resembling the hand and forming the end part of a limb of various mammals, such as that on all four limbs of a monkey.
      • ‘The wing's main support was an amazingly elongated fourth digit in the hand.’
      • ‘The creature was digging its tiny hands into a burnt log, and its face was covered in black soot.’
      • ‘The idea is that a monkey inserts its hand, clenches it around the maize, and then cannot withdraw its clenched fist.’
    2. 1.2West Indian A person's arm, including the hand.
      ‘that dog bite me on mi hand, right below the elbow’
      • ‘Leggo mi hand.’
      • ‘mi wife has bought a 'dog' a bound no bigger than mi hand.’
    3. 1.3[as modifier]Operated by or held in the hand.
      ‘hand luggage’
      • ‘Airline staff refused to allow it onto the plane as hand baggage and it was damaged in the luggage hold.’
      • ‘There are hand puppets, full body puppets and at least one monster puppet that fills the entire stage.’
      • ‘Oh and always pack one in your hand luggage just in case your bag happens to get lost.’
      • ‘Security staff stopped me after my hand luggage went through the security scanner.’
      • ‘As my hand luggage passed through the checking machine, I was asked if I had a nailcutter.’
      • ‘Use straw or foam sheets or a hand sprayer for disinfecting vehicle tyres.’
      • ‘She was not amused but I guess she totally misunderstood the concept of hand luggage.’
      • ‘The only thing I'd want a hand blender so I can mutilate vegetables at high speed.’
      • ‘The washbag needs to be in your hand luggage as when you least desire it the plane will temporarily or permanently lose your luggage.’
      • ‘The government hasn't delivered on that, nor on the call for a return to the standards for taking hand luggage on board.’
      • ‘It is likely the tiny crustacean had jumped into hand luggage of an unsuspecting passenger.’
      • ‘The driver backed his lorry down our narrow, double parked road and used a hand crane to drop the bags into a tight space in the front garden.’
      • ‘Never check in the laptop as luggage - keep it with you as hand baggage.’
      • ‘If you are taking a camera as part of your hand luggage take any film out of the camera as it may be opened up as part of the security checks.’
      • ‘I seem to remember that one of the characters was a stripper who did an unusual burlesque act with a hand puppet.’
      • ‘Of course, one has to ask whether it is a puppet operated by string or a hand puppet.’
      • ‘Often people will carry things in their hand luggage that they carry on board the aircraft.’
      • ‘For one thing, you may not be allowed to carry any baggage - check-in or hand baggage.’
      • ‘One day he came down to see me with a couple of those hand cultivators that the ladies use in the garden.’
      • ‘I got there just in time for the show, but missed my sound check and spent ten minutes trying to dry myself off with the hand drier in the gents.’
    4. 1.4[as modifier or in combination]Done or made manually rather than by machine.
      ‘hand signals’
      ‘a hand-stitched quilt’
      • ‘On at least one occasion tank commanders communicated with hand signals.’
      • ‘But he wryly added that full control of a vehicle should always be maintained when making hand signals.’
      • ‘Here's a quick guide to ease your way, including the necessary hand signals to get where you want to go.’
      • ‘They are hand knit and designed by another Dublin based designer Dee Collier.’
      • ‘Many of us learned years ago to collect pre-bath water in buckets to use in the garden or for doing hand laundry.’
      • ‘I presume the both of them cannot understand English but my hand signals were clear enough.’
      • ‘In order to prevent this, you always have to have a hand count of the hard ballots.’
      • ‘The jumpers, both machine and hand knit, are available in all sizes and colours.’
      • ‘One says seven days, the other says you may have a hand count that can't be done in seven days.’
      • ‘Azhion rode up in front of them all, told them to mount up, and gave the hand signal for all to move out.’
      • ‘An aggressive u-turn and associated hand signals to other drivers followed.’
      • ‘By using your hand signals, they have to keep their heads up to see what to do next.’
      • ‘She grinned lightly, and made a hand signal to a man in the back while Dave was distracted.’
      • ‘It was rather comical watching girls and boys alike tangle with a new skill as old as hand sewing.’
      • ‘At a hand signal from a Metro Police officer the piper took his position in front of the procession.’
      • ‘Many dogs need both voice and hand signals to reinforce commands off the leash.’
      • ‘The CO gave us a hand signal to show that we had to climb up into the clouds to over 6,000 ft.’
      • ‘He gave the hand signal for swords and bows at the ready, and the command spread down the line.’
      • ‘It took only the slightest of hand signals for Jack to get the frightened cat to follow.’
      • ‘On Wednesday it contained a parents' guide to the hand signals of the young chav with advice from the paper's agony aunt.’
    5. 1.5informal [in singular]A round of applause.
      ‘his fans gave him a big hand’
      • ‘What scares me is that many of those who voted for her in the past now think she's insane, and yet she gets a big hand abroad.’
      • ‘Step forward our friends at - you guessed it, give them a big hand - Scotland on Sunday.’
      • ‘Let's give them each a big hand.’
      round of applause, clap, handclap, ovation, standing ovation
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6A person's handwriting.
      ‘he inscribed the statement in a bold hand’
      • ‘Even fountain pens, though invented around 1884, were thought to be incompatible with a neat hand, and ballpoints were definitely the devil's invention.’
      • ‘This manuscript is written in a bold hand, with black ink, and is illuminated with rude portraits of the Evangelists.’
      handwriting, writing, script, longhand, letters, pen
      View synonyms
    7. 1.7dated A pledge of marriage by a woman.
      ‘he wrote to request the hand of her daughter in marriage’
      • ‘The story goes that he asked Tottenham for her hand in marriage and was refused.’
      • ‘However he hasn't counted on how far Bianca's suitors will go to gain her fair hand in marriage.’
      • ‘He was asking for her hand in marriage and yet he had not spoken a word of love.’
      • ‘A week later he was down on his knees asking for her hand in marriage.’
      • ‘Since he is from the same caste as Niharika, her father agrees to give him her hand in marriage.’
  • 2Something resembling a hand in form, in particular.

    1. 2.1A bunch of bananas.
      ‘mottled hands of bananas’
      • ‘The hands of bananas are packed in cartons.’
      • ‘I was late for work this morning because I had to call into Tesco's on the way, to buy a hand of bananas and some custard.’
    2. 2.2British A forehock of pork.
      • ‘Remove the hand of pork from the forequarter by a cut through the arm knuckle (between the blade bone and arm bone).’
      • ‘Take a hand of pork (other cuts will do, but the hand is optimum; five or six pounds' weight is your target here, and it must be on the bone), place in a large pan and cover with water.’
  • 3A pointer on a clock or watch indicating the passing of units of time.

    ‘the second hand’
    • ‘What kind of food makes people weep or sets them moving around a table like the hands of a clock?’
    • ‘The hands of the clock began to spin so fast that each minute the clock chimed a new hour.’
    • ‘Everywhere I looked were clocks without hands and forks without knives.’
    • ‘That is, the hands of the circadian clock are moved forward or backwards.’
    • ‘The gigantic hands of the clock watching over us up on the wall made me impatient.’
    • ‘As what seemed to be the result of the flash, the three hands of the clock began to speed up.’
    • ‘Jane swung the bulk of her pack onto her right shoulder like the hand of a clock striking zero hour.’
    • ‘She glances up at the clock then places a hand on her chest, always the drama queen.’
    • ‘The hands of Bella's clock quietly ticked away as she stared down at the five outfits on her bed.’
    • ‘The clock's hands pointed at the twelve and six, reflecting his initial sense of time.’
    • ‘He glanced at the clock, the big hand on the twelve and the small one on the nine.’
    • ‘But then the clock beside it has hands and ticks, which probably dates it a bit.’
    • ‘I have a pint of Guinness as we chat and then a second as the clock hands crawl past one.’
    • ‘He closed his eyes and the clock's hands began to whirl, the numbers glowing softly.’
    • ‘In fact, the hands of the clock above the mirrored bar stand still, encouraging you to linger.’
    • ‘Rotating his body like the hand of a clock, he shuffled around the lamb, examining it from every angle.’
    • ‘Time passes again, the same clock hands spin madly, the same bells ring and the same chimes chime.’
    • ‘There was a clock and the hands would move when a fast food company sold x amount of burgers.’
    • ‘I could barely make out the golden hands of the clock in the dim light of the candle.’
    pointer, indicator, needle, arrow, marker, index
    View synonyms
  • 4Used in reference to the power to direct something.

    ‘the day-to-day running of the house was in her hands’
    ‘they are taking the law into their own hands’
    • ‘The Internet is a truly frightening tool because it puts power into the hands of the masses.’
    • ‘The Villagers destiny is very much in their own hands as four of their remaining six league games are at Elm Park Way.’
    • ‘It's this bogus idea of putting power into the hands of the people.’
    • ‘Then he whipsawed back to the generous mood of a man who thinks he will soon hold some power in his hands.’
    • ‘Further more euthanasia places a dangerous amount of power in the hands of doctors.’
    • ‘The concentration of accounting services into the hands of only four practices should have an important benefit.’
    • ‘The structure of the NHS is outdated and should be replaced by a system putting power into the hands of patients and doctors.’
    • ‘It transfers power and privilege from working people into the hands of corporate elites.’
    • ‘We think there are real concerns about giving such a power into the hands of a bailiff.’
    • ‘It is sobering, in some cases, to see how much the hand of man has altered the face of nature.’
    • ‘Power was in the hands of a tightly knit group of substantial landowners and a few city merchants.’
    • ‘The continuing agenda of the summit has been left in the hands of the four co-chairs appointed by the mayor.’
    • ‘The consequent reduction of the public sector puts even more power in the hands of the corporate elite.’
    • ‘It reckons users are in good hands with Apple's own Safari browser, and so the trouble begins.’
    • ‘He said the decision on who should win the award was in the hands of lecturers from West Coast College of Tafe in Perth.’
    • ‘Military power remained in the hands of regional governors who were little more than independent warlords.’
    • ‘Put the power in the hands of one person, he said, and the world will start changing the way it should be changed.’
    • ‘Otherwise, power remains in the hands of the leaders, in whose hearts and minds it is also dominant.’
    • ‘They said all real political power would now be concentrated in the hands of just eight people - all Labour.’
    • ‘The move marks the latest in a string of deals that could leave the sector in the hands of three or four consolidators.’
    control, power, charge, authority
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    1. 4.1An active role in achieving or influencing something.
      ‘he had a big hand in organizing the event’
      • ‘Generous in his praise of those around him, Lewis singled out his mother, who is reported to have had a big hand in his retirement.’
      • ‘Keep in mind, the broad that runs this joint had a big hand in helping these folks out.’
      • ‘Reg Goodfellow, with two goals and two assists, had a hand in all four La Broquerie goals.’
      • ‘Dave Robinson starred as he scored one and had a hand in the other four goals.’
      • ‘Ms Bradford, who is in the House today, had a big hand in helping us with the process of planning.’
      • ‘He scored a fine individual try, had a big hand in Austerfield's brace and threatened the Batley line time and again.’
      • ‘He had a hand in all four goals that gave Celtic an astonishing victory over the Serie A giants.’
      • ‘She has no doubt that Irving had a big hand in her rise to the top ranks of the world's squash players.’
      capacity, position, job, day job, post, office, task, duty, responsibility, mantle, place, situation
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    2. 4.2Help in doing something.
      ‘do you need a hand?’
      • ‘"Do you need a hand?" I ask.’
      • ‘Bradford's Industrial Museum has been giving a helping hand to a textile archive in Leeds.’
      help, a helping hand, assistance, aid, support, succour, relief
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  • 5A person's workmanship, especially in artistic work.

    ‘his idiosyncratic hand’
    • ‘It does not matter that they are multiples or that we cannot actually see the artists' hand in the facture of the work.’
    • ‘Tyler attributes the strength of the work to the artist's hand.’
    1. 5.1[with adjective]A person who does something to a specified standard.
      ‘I'm a great hand at inventing’
      • ‘Good luck to Curry man James who is a top hand at getting the top name bands for the fans.’
      • ‘Because, even an expert hand at the control board could not work wonders with light and shade there.’
      • ‘She was a good hand at the baking, something which she retained a fondness for up to the last year of her life.’
      • ‘He also participated in several trekking programmes and is a good hand at adventure sports.’
      • ‘I am a wise and experienced hand at this stuff and I know when I am right.’
      • ‘Now Granny was no beauty expert, but she was a fair hand at remedies and keep fit herbs when we were children.’
      • ‘Good luck to James, who is from Curry, who is a top hand at getting all the top name bands for the fans.’
      • ‘He was a capable hand at blindside flanker, but tended to exert greater influence from the second row.’
      • ‘Car parking is supervised by Roy who is no mean hand at turning out a tasty tiramisu when occasion demands.’
      • ‘I'm not a great hand at forgery, but I think I could have made a fair stab at running off some copies.’
      • ‘The sight of new molehills here and there reminded me of an old farm worker I knew who was a good hand at catching moles.’
  • 6A person who engages in manual labour, especially in a factory, on a farm, or on board a ship.

    ‘a factory hand’
    ‘the ship was lost with all hands’
    • ‘All of the horses had to be led down to the bottom of the field by stable hands as firefighters dealt with the flames.’
    • ‘She had starred at the wood each morning since she had been hired as a hand on farm at the age of 12.’
    • ‘The village itself, built to house agricultural hands, now has just two men thus employed.’
    • ‘Hanssen's ship now looks ready to go down with all hands on board.’
    • ‘Roger also worked as a bus boy, a kitchen hand, and a labourer on many different sites.’
    • ‘He had a stable hand hitch up the horses and then he helped Lydia up into the buggy.’
    • ‘It concerns a factory hand who is sent to Coventry by his co-workers when he refuses to go on strike.’
    • ‘She ordered one of the stable hands to put the horse back in his stall, and left the training ring.’
    • ‘She nodded as if agreeing with him and then called over some stable hands to take the horses.’
    • ‘Poor bastard must wake up in a shipwreck every morning - hands on the mast and seamen everywhere.’
    • ‘Workers back then were beings with blue collars, drivers or wharfies or factory hands.’
    • ‘When they reached the castle she gave her horse to a stable hand and headed for her room.’
    worker, factory worker, manual worker, unskilled worker, blue-collar worker, workman, workwoman, workperson, working man, labourer, operative, hired hand, hireling, roustabout, employee, artisan
    View synonyms
  • 7The set of cards dealt to a player in a card game.

    ‘he's got a good hand’
    figurative ‘the situation does not give them a strong hand at the negotiating table’
    • ‘Yes, he was dealt a hard hand by fate, but should he have gone the way he did?’
    • ‘Paul won almost by default because of Jon's lousy hand in the first round.’
    • ‘If anyone else has these in their hand at the end of a round their entire hand is worthless!’
    • ‘If the joker is turned up, there are no wild cards and the value of the hand is doubled.’
    • ‘The same applies if a team has a meld of less than seven pure aces and three or more aces in a player's hand.’
    • ‘You may draw the top card off the stock pile, and then discard one card from your hand.’
    • ‘In case of a tie between two hands, the discarded card is used to decide which is better.’
    • ‘The total value of all the cards in the hands of the other players is added to the winner's cumulative score.’
    • ‘Players are dealt a hand of five cards and play is around the table as one would expect.’
    • ‘Up to dinner I played very well with the little that I was given, only going into about four or five hands and winning them all.’
    • ‘Michael then asks Heather if she's ever felt that she's been dealt a bad hand.’
    • ‘It's like being dealt a hand of cards, before arranging them into suits.’
    • ‘When I came back out, Torin had dealt us both a hand and had a steaming mug of hot chocolate laid out for me.’
    • ‘Alice de Souza has dealt herself a winning hand and she has played it skillfully.’
    • ‘But to be Franck is to be polite, cultured and dignified enough to accept the hand dealt by the game's fates.’
    • ‘This is the equivalent of slow-playing a brilliant hand at poker, so that you draw in your prey.’
    • ‘Even if you are dealt a bad hand, you might still see or raise a bet, or even bet all your chips at once.’
    • ‘There will be a new hand dealt in Malaysia and I think that we have a chance of doing well.’
    • ‘The event promises to be a great day out and full of fun as we raise money to help the unfortunates dealt such a cruel hand in life.’
    • ‘Even at this stage of life fate dealt a tough hand to Matty as far as his family was concerned, he was never to see them again.’
    1. 7.1A round or short spell of play in a card game.
      ‘they played a hand of whist’
      • ‘There is bad news today for any bald, guitar-playing Afghani who likes a hand of Bridge.’
      • ‘He played golf into his late 80s, tended a large garden, and played a fine hand at bridge.’
      • ‘When one player has won four tricks, the hand is over and that player is the winner.’
    2. 7.2Bridge The cards held by a declarer as opposed to those in the dummy.
      ‘declarer won in hand and led ♣J’
      • ‘In any case, Kyle Larsen cleared spades as Jonathan won in hand.’
      • ‘Build up an image of declarer's hand with inferences from the bidding and from the way declarer and partner play.’
  • 8A unit of measurement of a horse's height, equal to 4 inches (10.16 cm).

    • ‘Direct Access is no pony himself and at 17 hands is the biggest horse in Lungo's yard.’
    • ‘How many hands high was Secretariat?’


  • 1[with two objects] Pick (something) up and give it to (someone)

    ‘he handed each man a glass’
    ‘I handed the trowel back to him’
    • ‘Kneeling down, she handed the dog a treat and picked it up, scooping it carefully with her arm.’
    • ‘After handing her horse to a stableboy waiting nearby, Kayin took a deep breath and entered.’
    • ‘When she found out Mr Rose had changed his mind and handed the honour to Miss Loos, she was determined she wouldn't let it lie.’
    • ‘He starts to cry and kind-hearted Beckham walks past, picks the car out the mud, cleans it and hands it back to him.’
    • ‘Morgan finally dug up a gemstone, picked it up and handed it to Evelyn, who put it in a bag.’
    • ‘Hastily he picked the book up and handed it to her and bowed his head before standing.’
    • ‘Marty had bent down and picked up my books and handed them back to me without a word.’
    • ‘There's something really great about getting actual mail in your actual mailbox, or handing a card to someone.’
    • ‘One of our members handed it into the school at 5pm to be passed to the board.’
    • ‘I was just about to bend over and pick it up when who should hand it to me but John himself.’
    • ‘I picked up the red t-shirt off the carpet and handed it to him, watching as he slipped it over his head.’
    • ‘But Hughes has no qualms about handing another starring role to teenager Dean Lord.’
    • ‘The scheme was given a huge boost by council chiefs who handed the organisation a £25,000 grant.’
    • ‘Someone threw it over the barriers and the security guard picked it up and handed it to me!’
    • ‘The guy behind the counter hands Jason the monkey and Jason gives him the tickets.’
    • ‘He picked up the beer and handed it to the man before turning and making his way down the corridor.’
    • ‘Today, in the absence of a real fans' favourite, Reyna may find himself handed an important role.’
    • ‘His second hour students were already pouring into class as he handed them both a pass.’
    • ‘At present, all tax receipts go to the UK Treasury and money is handed back to Scotland in the form of a block grant.’
    pass, give, reach, let someone have, throw, toss
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal Make (abusive, untrue, or otherwise objectionable remarks) to (someone)
      ‘all the yarns she'd been handing me’
      • ‘The leaders at Rome who favored action were thus handed an insult they could use to win support.’
      • ‘Lehmann later apologised to the Sri Lanka team for the comment and was handed a reprimand by match referee Clive Lloyd.’
  • 2[with object and adverbial of direction] Hold the hand of (someone) in order to guide them in a specified direction.

    ‘he handed them into the carriage’
    • ‘He handed her down from the coach, and led her into the hail where the company was assembled.’
    • ‘The footmen handed her into the coach, the coachman snapped his whip, and off they drove in grand style.’
    assist, help, aid, give someone a hand, give someone a helping hand, give someone assistance
    View synonyms
  • 3Sailing
    [with object] Take in or furl (a sail)

    ‘hand in the main!’
    • ‘Hand in the main!’
    • ‘To stow (hand) the sail the sheets are released and the clewlines and buntlines are pulled tight.’


  • 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We were now encountering the last minute and Dingle had all hands on deck to rescue their rapidly sinking ship.’
      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’
        • ‘We are getting orders from all over the world, which means that it is all hands on deck.’
        • ‘I don't want to set up any huge promises, but we need all hands on deck.’
        • ‘Strange's US ship of golfers had cruised without all hands on deck for the crucial day.’
        • ‘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.’’
        • ‘It is all hands on deck and hopefully we can get the right result.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The last few minutes of this meal requires all hands on deck.’
        • ‘The actor-musician productions have the human aspect because they're very much all hands on deck.’
        • ‘But I will admit that hosting such an event requires all hands on deck.’
  • at hand

    • 1Close by.

      ‘a mortar burst close at hand’
      • ‘She likes the cafe and restaurant scene, but she especially loves the proximity of the great outdoors so close at hand.’
      • ‘It's beside rivers and numerous streams close at hand for fishing for trout.’
      • ‘Close at hand there is a table-tomb with an inscription which could still be read at the turn of the 20th century.’
      • ‘No sound at all and you'd better curl yourself into a closet or head for a cellar if there's one close at hand.’
      • ‘The M50 is also close at hand, and there are several primary and secondary schools within the vicinity.’
      • ‘There is a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars close at hand and the city centre is within walking distance.’
      • ‘The action is close at hand with heavy shelling and night bombing.’
      • ‘‘A lot of our biggest customers are based in the north and we needed to be close at hand,’ he said.’
      • ‘While visiting Motorola in Cork last week, I learned that help was at hand - Motowifi is close by.’
      • ‘Quanta's efficiency is helped by its system of maintaining clusters of component suppliers close at hand.’
      1. 1.1Readily accessible when needed.
        ‘doctors can have vaccines at hand to immunize any child who comes for treatment’
        • ‘It makes me want to gouge out my eyes with whatever office implements I have close at hand.’
        • ‘The information was readily at hand and easily retrievable.’
        • ‘So you can put your passport and boarding card in there, conveniently at hand at all times.’
        • ‘If it is an important call, make sure to make a list of all the things you want to say and keep it close at hand and then tick off each item as you progress.’
        • ‘I have a whole lot of little yellow slips of paper close at hand at all times.’
        • ‘Bags are a girl's best friend, allowing women to keep their must-have possessions close at hand.’
        • ‘The notional addressee is likely to want to use materials readily at hand to make essentially the same thing as is disclosed in the prior art.’
        • ‘She has at hand the most current available data on plants, insects, and diseases.’
        • ‘Measure the brandy, sherry and cream and have everything close at hand.’
        • ‘It is also illegal to serve them more alcohol in that condition - and particularly as they have glass readily at hand.’
        readily available, available, handy, to hand, near at hand, within reach, accessible, ready, close, close by, near, nearby, at the ready, at one's fingertips, at one's disposal, convenient
        View synonyms
      2. 1.2Close in time; about to happen.
        ‘a breakthrough in combating the disease may be at hand’
        • ‘For Toly Kouroumalis, who counts the author as an inspiration, chaos always seems close at hand.’
        • ‘And it does seem sometimes that no matter how well things are going heartache is often very close at hand as well.’
        • ‘Some long-awaited good news on Laybourne Lakes, Hessay, is at hand.’
        • ‘Why bother to curb your appetite with a cure so close at hand?’
        • ‘They can only watch it end in the disaster which appears so close at hand.’
        • ‘And the technology and the means of making that a reality is close at hand.’
        • ‘The day when Sinn Féin TDs hold government office in a coalition government is probably close at hand.’
        • ‘I have decided to take today off, a very arrogant attitude, you might say, with public exams so close at hand.’
        • ‘Thanking the protective services for their quick response, Aboud said he hoped that success was close at hand.’
        • ‘The current relative quiet on the Israeli-Palestinian front shouldn't lull anyone into believing that peace is at hand.’
        imminent, close at hand, approaching, forthcoming, coming, coming soon, about to happen, nearly on us, just around the corner, on the horizon
        View synonyms
  • at (or by) the hands (or hand) of

    • Through the agency of.

      ‘he will undergo tests at the hands of a senior neurologist’
      • ‘For the most part this violence has been contained in Algeria and done by the hands of Algerians against other Algerians.’
      • ‘Untainted by the hand of consumerism and free from the shackles of music industry agendas, they believe the only way to make music in its purest form is to forget selling it.’
      • ‘Indeed, it seems as though the melody and continuity suffered slightly at the hand of all these exclamation marks that Maestra Hewitt procured.’
      • ‘The JNA invaded Slovenia immediately after it declared its independence (only to suffer heavy and disgracing losses at the hand of hastily organized militias).’
      • ‘But by the hands of Atom Egoyan, David Mamet and Marin Karmitz, it does.’
      • ‘And with this deed, Roderigo is lead to his death by the hands of none other than, ‘Honest Iago.’’
      • ‘In the middle of all this is the idea that justice is something to be administered personally, not by the hands of the judicial branch.’
      • ‘These technologies can be shackled by the hand of the state, of course.’
      • ‘The calcification of the Barnes had begun, at the hand of yet another form of regional neurosis.’
      • ‘Norwegian corporations will have to make significant changes to their governing boards or face liquidation by the hands of the Norwegian state.’
  • bind (or tie) someone hand and foot

    • Tie someone's hands and feet together.

      • ‘The two prisoners quickly bound him hand and foot, and then demanded the keys to the cellblock.’
      • ‘They bound him hand and foot and they blindfolded him.’
      • ‘It took her a few seconds to work out that she was actually wearing a blindfold, and that she was bound hand and foot.’
      • ‘He had struggled so much they bound him hand and foot, crippling his efforts to escape.’
      • ‘They bound him hand and foot, then gagged him and threw him in Alexander's old cell.’
      • ‘While under interrogation, Puiggrós was tied hand and foot and mistreated physically, but when workers attempted to help him they were threatened with harm.’
      • ‘It was then she realized she was bound hand and foot, on the floor of what seemed to be a wagon.’
      • ‘Stealing upon her unawares, I knocked her senseless, gagged her, and bound her hand and foot.’
      • ‘Two men carrying handcuffs and leg irons came for him at his mother's home in Sacramento, Calif., shoved him into a van and bound him hand and foot.’
      • ‘The robber turned on him as he was watching television, pulled out a six-inch bladed knife, tied him hand and foot, and left him gagged on the floor too terrified to move.’
  • by hand

    • 1By a person and not a machine.

      ‘the crop has to be harvested by hand’
      • ‘The boot shop has about 25 workers who produce boots by hand for the communities.’
      • ‘He glued the wood to the deck's sides, then drew and painted wings, finally cutting them out by hand.’
      • ‘Otherwise it will be cast aside to be sorted by hand, as the machine operates on county names.’
      • ‘It takes a day to sew each accessory; the gloves, ears, masks, are all sewn by hand.’
      • ‘It was a slow process because voting used paper ballots, which were counted by hand.’
      • ‘It's not that long ago that cows were being milked by hand, now they're being milked by computer.’
      • ‘In those days it was all done by hand and I'm not sure that anything was computerized.’
      • ‘Use strips of ribbon or braid to make a family monogram, or embroider it by hand or machine.’
      • ‘Incisions made by hand or machine have carved out this unique landscape for centuries.’
      • ‘We don't have to wash the clothes by hand or mend the holes in our shoes.’
      manually, with one's hands, using one's hands, not by machine, not mechanically, freehand
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of mail) delivered in person rather than posted.
        ‘he drafted a statement and sent it by hand’
        • ‘Another is reported to be delivering ballot packs by hand after production delays.’
        • ‘If you cannot find a post box you can deliver your entry by hand to the Weekender at Bridge Street, Sligo.’
        • ‘Election chiefs in Oldham and Tameside organised teams of volunteer council workers to deliver the papers by hand.’
        • ‘The solution to their problems arrived in the form of a letter, and an anonymous letter delivered by hand in the dead of night at that.’
        • ‘Staff reverted to sending important information by telephone, fax or in some cases even delivering it by hand.’
        • ‘And if they can write, get them to write a letter of apology and deliver it by hand to these unfortunate residents.’
        • ‘Guster has a letter from Lady Dedlock, which she has been asked to deliver by hand.’
        • ‘It is not specifically stated that it must be in writing, but this is implied by the fact that it is to be given either by post or delivery by hand.’
        • ‘We refused and stressed that out of respect for the thousands who had signed it, we would only deliver it by hand.’
        • ‘I had intended to have it delivered by hand but, because it was confidential, I thought it was better to post it.’
  • get (or keep) one's hand in

    • Become (or remain) practised in something.

      ‘I like to keep my hand in by catering for private functions’
      • ‘He also kept his hand in on the recording front with an album which included performances by Brian May, Rory Gallagher, Sir Elton John and Ron Wood.’
      • ‘At least if you're fit - and you're not playing - you can always train and keep your hand in.’
      • ‘Being constantly involved in the process of making art keeps your hand in.’
      • ‘Melanie had kept her hand in doing a bit of outside catering and decided to drop in on a few people with some sandwich samples.’
      • ‘So in order to keep his hand in at the game, he is hoping to practice at Kilkenny.’
      • ‘If I fail, well, I've kept my hand in with the day job and it'll be back to selling whisky down at Leith.’
      • ‘At 10 am I spend a few hours in meditation, occasionally indulging in a bit of remote viewing to keep my hand in.’
      • ‘To keep his hand in, Larry produced an interactive multimedia training package on producing multimedia training packages.’
      • ‘I will always have a love for cheering, and this is a way to keep my hand in.’
      • ‘Donaldson's new role means that he will not be able to coach specific crews but he hopes to keep his hand in by occasionally taking out the megaphone at training camps.’
      train, rehearse, prepare, exercise, drill, work out, warm up, go through one's paces, keep one's hand in, get into shape, do exercises, study
      View synonyms
  • get (or lay)one's hands on

    • Find or get something.

      ‘I haven't got my hands on a copy yet’
      • ‘The dorm room was smaller, yes, but I couldn't afford to let my father get his hands on my possessions.’
      • ‘Like most children I read every Roald Dahl book I could get my hands on.’
      • ‘Each player is focusing on the task ahead, anxiously waiting to get his hands on the red ball.’
      • ‘I already have two and I want as many as I can get my hands on.’
      • ‘Today it is expensive and little used, forcing the artist to recycle whatever stocks he can get his hands on.’
      • ‘It's terrible what developers can do to our natural surroundings when they get their hands on a bit of land.’
      • ‘Like tickets for a 1970's concert for The Who, investors practically stampeded to get their hands on the paper.’
      • ‘Headteacher Lee Chandler said: "It was a lovely surprise for the boys to get their hands on this new football kit."’
      • ‘So I got my hands on some almost front row tickets.’
      • ‘Bookshops across the city were expecting today to be their busiest day of the year, with people clamouring to get their hands on copies of the book.’
      obtain, acquire, come by, secure, procure, come into possession of, pick up, be given
      View synonyms
  • give (or lend) a hand

    • Assist in an action or enterprise.

      ‘the policemen lent a hand in getting the stretcher up the steps’
      • ‘But the City keeper will give his old club no helping hand at Blundell Park tomorrow.’
      • ‘Why the state should lend a hand to assist people already doing a fair bit better than the basic wage beats me.’
      • ‘He more than lends a hand with the kids, for example.’
      • ‘But due to soaring demand a second assistant lends a hand.’
      • ‘His wife, June, has run the village post office for the last 15 years, since the couple returned to the village, and Mr Boyack lends a hand.’
      • ‘It appears that food, like education and experiences in life, lends a hand in the evolvement of human beings.’
      • ‘Most of us know the Order of Malta as those who are always willing to give a helping hand at local events.’
      • ‘Each age group is run by a qualified rugby coach, but parents are encouraged to lend a hand.’
      • ‘In the social area it has assisted disabled people and has lent a hand with the environment through projects for waste management and water management.’
      • ‘The lads hired two very clever directors, but Jim was in the background, lending a hand.’
      help, help out, give a helping hand, assist, give assistance, aid, make a contribution, do someone a favour, take part, do one's bit
      pitch in, muck in, get stuck in, get involved
      assist, aid, help, lend a hand, support, back, encourage
      View synonyms
  • hand in glove

    • In close collusion or association.

      ‘they were working hand in glove with our enemies’
      • ‘However, as is the case with a number of areas of artefacts and the like, there is also hand in glove with that a black market trade in fossils which is a worldwide situation and a fairly considerable one at that.’
      • ‘Where there are allegations of a criminal offence we work hand in glove with the police.’
      • ‘We have worked hand in glove for over 50 years to establish international institutions and a set of norms to govern civilized behavior in the era of nuclear weapons and an increasingly interdependent world.’
      • ‘I am tempted to ask, if the government is tied hand in glove to corporate America, whistling to the tune of almighty trade, who is running the corporate world?’
      • ‘There was speculation that a few corporates were hand in glove with institutional players and brokers to depress the market so that there would be a substantial reduction in the equity valuation of the stocks.’
      • ‘They blocked the road for about two hours and raised slogans against the police alleging it was hand in glove with the six persons against whom a case had been registered.’
      • ‘They are looking to open up Libya and transform it, so the two do go hand in glove.’
      • ‘Unless the government officials are hand in glove with the builders, illegal construction cannot come up.’
      • ‘Our ultimate ambition is to have our own Rugby Development Officer working hand in glove with the schools.’
      • ‘And if you didn't already know that fashion and music go hand in glove, hip-hop label Dawn Raid are part of the action for the first time.’
      in close collaboration, in close association, in close cooperation, very closely, closely together, in partnership, in league, in collusion
      in cahoots
      View synonyms
  • hand in hand

    • 1(of two people) with hands joined, especially as a mark of affection.

      ‘walking hand in hand with my father down the street’
      • ‘It was here a young couple walked hand in hand, whispering sweet endearments to the other.’
      • ‘So we walked together, hand in hand, a perfect pair of lovers bathed in the moonlight.’
      • ‘After the game, the sun was setting in Berkeley as we walked hand in hand through the streets.’
      • ‘Artist Marudu inaugurated the evening with his sketch of three persons walking hand in hand.’
      • ‘The two regularly would walk hand in hand through the botanical gardens of Rangoon, followed by a beer in the cafeteria.’
      • ‘As they walked hand in hand down the sidewalk to the park, Mark looked at her askance.’
      • ‘Mary was happy to walk hand in hand with him, absorbing the exciting atmosphere at the track.’
      • ‘They walked hand in hand to the clinic's kitchen and sat down together at the small stainless steel table.’
      • ‘They then walked hand in hand down the beach to swim in the sea.’
      • ‘Together, hand in hand, they walked slowly toward the empty space in his living room.’
      holding hands, clasping hands, with hands clasped, with hands joined
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Closely associated or connected.
        ‘she had the confidence that usually goes hand in hand with experience’
        • ‘Death goes hand in hand with another tenet of the rational faith, the knowledge of impermanence.’
        • ‘We should all bear this in mind, for territorial ambition often goes hand in hand with the censor's creed.’
        • ‘The doctrine of education for all goes hand in hand with the provision of free education.’
        • ‘It's summer here and in New Zealand summer goes hand in hand with periods of humidity.’
        • ‘Travelling goes hand in hand with school summer holidays whether it is to the local play group or to the south of France.’
        • ‘Reform of the political system, said Mubarak, goes hand in hand with economic reform.’
        • ‘At its worst, and this is most common, it goes hand in hand with extraordinary, overblown vanity.’
        • ‘Pest control goes hand in hand with ambitious industrialization in Chinese history.’
        • ‘Surveys show that well-managed shooting land goes hand in hand with a wider and richer diversity of plants and wildlife.’
        • ‘To be fair, this point goes hand in hand with the previous one.’
        in close association, closely together, together, in partnership, closely, conjointly, concurrently, side by side, in concert
        View synonyms
  • hand someone something on a plate

    • informal Make something very easily obtainable for someone.

      ‘it was a win handed to him on a plate’
      • ‘Believe me, I wasn't handed this part on a plate - I really had to fight for it.’
      • ‘Mr Gill said: ‘We need to understand that no-one is going to hand us a living on a plate.’’
      • ‘It wasn't too bad to be honest, and I was handed the first question on a plate - this topic comes up in Commercial Law too, but I never had the chance to answer a question on it, so I'm pleased I have used the knowledge now!’
      • ‘Admittedly he had luck on his side that day, because the hot favourite Ichi Beau was in front and looking like a winner when he crashed out of contention at the second-last fence, handing Minster Glory the race on a plate.’
      • ‘Telling me that I could wear the pretty dresses, the fancy hair adornments and the magical shoes and prance around under the twinkling lights with applause at the end was like handing me the world on a plate.’
      • ‘God bless you Lefty, I wasn't suggesting that Hardesty would just hand us his address on a plate, we'd have to go looking.’
      • ‘Skolars handed them the opportunity on a plate when their opening kick-off went out on the full.’
      • ‘It couldn't really be claimed that Alloa created the better chances of the first half; they were handed them on a plate.’
      • ‘Two penalties saw them stretch their lead to 16-10 as Cougars lost their composure and handed them points on a plate.’
      • ‘There we were with a minute to go and yer ball watchin and ye hand them the game on a plate.’
  • the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world

    • proverb The person who raises a child determines the character of that child and so influences the type of society that the next generation will create.

      • ‘I decided that as I had four children, I would multiply my skills by four, thus quadrupling my influence in the corporate world; after all, "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world".’
      • ‘"Mothers," she says, "however they choose to bring up their children, should be united in one thing: that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the the world."’
      • ‘The answers she provides shed light in fascinating ways on the penetration of science and politics into intimate, changing relations between mother and child, adding richly to the "hand that rocks the cradle" genre of recent socio-historical interest.’
      • ‘A future leader of the women's movement said: "Educate your women and the nation will take care of itself, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."’
      • ‘One ladies' football club's annual meeting recently voted eleven people into eight positions, yet only one position went to a woman; the hand that rocks the cradle and all that, but seemingly they rely on the men to administer their Gaelic football.’
      • ‘They say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world; in my mother's case this seemed to be true.’
  • (from) hand to mouth

    • Satisfying only one's immediate needs because of lack of money for future plans and investments.

      ‘they were flat broke and living hand to mouth’
      [as modifier] [as adjective] ‘a hand-to-mouth existence’
      • ‘Sachs argues, that a syndrome of unpropitious circumstances enchain the poorest countries in a hand to mouth existence that prevents them investing in their future.’
      • ‘I'd rather live hand to mouth than get money for nothing.’
      • ‘Back in 1970, at the start of his four-year stint living hand to mouth as a translator in Paris, Auster had begun working on a difficult early novel, made all the more difficult for him because it relied on a female narrator.’
      • ‘I was living hand to mouth and I felt completely hopeless because I was so poor.’
      • ‘The teachers now recognize that they face a very difficult decision: working alone in the U.S. and scraping some money together to wire home, or bringing over their families and living hand to mouth.’
      • ‘She was now in severe difficulties, because she had been evicted from her home and was living hand to mouth at the homes of friends.’
      • ‘You climb so far, get into New York and Washington and Los Angeles, and then you regress to the days of living hand to mouth.’
      • ‘It's all about living hand to mouth and getting through, while postponing some of our debts.’
      • ‘In the initial days and weeks, it was literally a case of living from hand to mouth.’
      • ‘It's farcical situation, more so now that so many clubs are living hand to mouth.’
      precariously, from day to day, not knowing where one's next meal is coming from, uncertainly, insecurely, in poverty, meagrely
      on the breadline
      View synonyms
  • hands down

    • Easily and decisively.

      ‘Swindon won hands down’
      • ‘The envious look on my fellow competitors' faces reflected my own view: I was going to win this race hands down.’
      • ‘McCrann has exhibited how superior intellect will defeat sloganeering hands down.’
      • ‘But it was the pumpkin ravioli with crisp sage leaves which won hands down for wow flavour.’
      • ‘If this is so, then I would have to say that liberals have won this argument hands down.’
      • ‘I think that takes the prize for the most bewildering and cryptic headline of the day, hands down.’
      • ‘I will say hands down they are the most wondrous thing in the world I have ever seen.’
      • ‘In the digs I was staying in, the five of us there had a half crown forecast on the outcome which I won hands down.’
      • ‘Aliens is hands down one of the most quotable movies of all time.’
      • ‘If a poll was taken on the street today of the most frequently visited place why then would Manchester Airport win hands down?’
      • ‘First, Aida's iced tea with rose water is hands down my favourite new beverage.’
      easily, effortlessly, with ease, with no trouble, with very little trouble, without effort, with very little effort
      by a mile, no sweat
      View synonyms
  • hands off

    • 1Used as a warning not to touch or interfere with something.

      ‘hands off that cake tin!’
      • ‘We feel that Yorkshire doesn't really deserve it, so hands off, it's ours.’
      • ‘Now that development threatens the playground of the elite they cry hands off.’
      1. 1.1Not involving or requiring direct control or intervention.
        ‘a hands-off management style’
        • ‘Usual physiotherapy produced marginally better treatment outcomes at 12 months than the shorter, hands-off intervention.’
        • ‘So this is why I'm concerned with creating the right culture of hands-off management at PaxDigita.’
        • ‘Dyke's hands off, relaxed approach, is in stark contrast to the style of his predecessor, John Birt.’
        • ‘It was about the team and the added value, as well as getting the balance between totally hands on and totally hands off.’
        • ‘I have a very hands-off approach to project management, partly because I'm lazy and partly because I find that it works well.’
        • ‘It's that his preparation style is hands-off, to say the least.’
        • ‘Such loyalty and his hands-off management style might have worked in a privately owned business.’
        • ‘All that is required is the adoption of a hands-off attitude, allowing the market to develop by itself.’
        • ‘Seeing people get shot here is usually a surprisingly bloodless and hands off affair.’
        • ‘The Gods may be more or less hands off, but They have the power to take the reins, if things go very badly.’
  • hands up!

    • Used as an instruction to raise one's hands in surrender or to signify assent or participation.

      ‘hands up who saw the programme!’
      • ‘Hands up who likes an old fashioned boy?’
      • ‘The cop shouted, "Hands up — police!"’
  • have a hand in something

    • Be involved in doing something.

      ‘the girls had a hand in writing the lyrics’
      • ‘Consistently, they have denied they duck each other, or that their father has a hand in the outcome of matches.’
      • ‘Others hurl insults at neighboring Syria, blamed by many Lebanese for having a hand in the crimes.’
      • ‘I think that nature definitely has a hand in the way we slowly forget things.’
      • ‘Scores of others also had a hand in birthing this network.’
      • ‘The Financial Services Authority has had a hand in this debacle.’
      • ‘Neighbours, suspecting that the family members had a hand in the death, called the police.’
      • ‘Kelley, one of Hollywood's most prolific TV writer-producers, had a hand in creating most of the scripts.’
      • ‘Some added that I had had a hand in Allende's death.’
      • ‘You didn't have a hand in it at all.’
      • ‘My ignorance to the video game world of "Final Fantasy" may have a hand in my confusion at this series.’
      play a part in, contribute to, be a factor in, be responsible for, be partly responsible for
      View synonyms
  • have one's hands full

    • Have as much work as one can do.

      ‘I can't do the job—I've got my hands full at my desk’
      • ‘They are a great tribute to their country and Portugal are going to have their hands full.’
      • ‘The staff at the Matalan store in Greenbridge Retail Park will have their hands full over the next fortnight as hundreds of parents prepare their little ones for their moment of fame in the Evening Advertiser's Baby of the Year competition.’
      • ‘Staff on the labour and maternity wards had their hands full as 10 tiny tots arrived thick and fast following Big Ben's chimes.’
      • ‘The traffic police have their hands full in managing the crowds on this already busy thoroughfare.’
      • ‘Even the crankiest concert-goer realizes that promoters and police have their hands full at these events, dealing with thousands of really drunk people.’
      • ‘City and state officials, along with New York's congressional delegation, will have their hands full with making the case in Washington for generous help in rebuilding the infrastructure.’
      • ‘He isn't the only one to think this according to more media stories listing other Senators also thinking for themselves, so the National Compliance Committee may soon have their hands full.’
      • ‘All members of the Cleats have their hands full: new guitarist Eric Budd spent the summer jamming with his other band, the Operators, and he's spent the last month in Vancouver in engineering job-placement.’
      • ‘Thursday the new prime minister will present herself and her cabinet to the Ukrainian parliament for a vote of confidence and then the president and his prime minister and her team will have their hands full.’
      • ‘In other words, you have your hands full already with existing problems.’
      engaged in, involved in, employed in, working at, labouring at, toiling at, slaving at, wrapped up, wrapped up in, wrapped up with
      View synonyms
  • have one's hands tied

    • informal Be unable to act freely.

      ‘he cannot have his hands tied on how his department's money is spent’
      • ‘There is more than a little truth in the complaint that ‘planners have their hands tied.’’
      • ‘But the Clarets chief has his hands tied by the club's financial position and he is struggling to match the package Ipswich are offering.’
      • ‘So with Anderson's help he can parade himself before the IOC as having his hands tied by judicial process when pleading Australia is not soft on drugs in sport.’
      • ‘It seems ridiculous that someone capable of building something that will actually secure our future is having his hands tied.’
      • ‘I think it's dreadful that politicians should be involved in this sort of thing, that we should have our hands tied.’
      • ‘But schools have their hands tied, and the most that will probably happen is that the children are temporarily excluded.’
      • ‘Parents are either unable or unwilling to do anything, teachers have their hands tied, the police are impotent and the Judiciary Services have let us down.’
      • ‘This is a regular occurrence in schools - especially C of E schools, and teachers have their hands tied as opposition would be branded as religious hatred and racism.’
      • ‘Leaders in the region have their hands tied by their strategic interests and the need to retain US support, a policy frequently unpopular with local public opinion.’
      • ‘Trading standards staff in local councils have their hands tied by government guidelines.’
  • have to hand it to someone

    • informal Used to acknowledge the merit or achievement of someone.

      ‘I've got to hand it to you—you've got the magic touch’
      • ‘And I have to hand it to them, they really did a great job in there.’
      • ‘If it's true, and the Republicans have managed to completely change the meaning of that term, then you really have to hand it to them.’
      • ‘For all the bile that's been spilled this year about WFF, I do have to hand it to them, they collected well over 300 movies, and many of them do look intriguing.’
      • ‘Maybe we were not on top of our game but you just have to hand it to them.’
      • ‘You have to hand it to him: nobody expected that!’
      • ‘Observers have been noting for a while that Crossmolina have lost some of their pep, and that is undoubtedly true and understandable, but you have to hand it to them, they keep on grinding out the results nevertheless.’
      • ‘It's difficult for non-Catholics to concede anything to Catholics on some of their church's main precepts, but you have to hand it to them for hanging on to the Latin.’
      • ‘‘You have to hand it to him… he's got it whatever it is,’ they muttered, without even a hint of begrudgery.’
      • ‘You have to hand it to them: those Scots get everywhere.’
      • ‘You have to hand it to them - there's a certain level of demented beauty to it all.’
  • in hand

    • 1Receiving or requiring immediate attention.

      ‘he threw himself into the work in hand’
      • ‘I reply, still quite shocked by the situation in hand.’
      • ‘The goal forced Univ to reassess the task in hand and they did so well, immediately playing the kind of hockey which had been characteristic of their campaign thus far.’
      • ‘That is not to say that every aspect of formal logic must have an immediate application to the problems in hand.’
      • ‘It will be apparent, however, that the balance between such considerations will vary with the situation in hand and with the interpretation of the statute.’
      • ‘But during the long days at sea, the men and women on board keep busy with a wide range of activities and exercises quite apart from the immediate task in hand.’
      • ‘The club's Bulgarian midfielder Stilian Petrov insists, however, that concentrating on the tasks immediately in hand will not prove difficult.’
      • ‘If it took this defeat to refocus attention to the matter in hand then it might prove to be no bad thing.’
      • ‘I told the sound guy that I didn't want to be miked up today; this was too important an outing for me and I needed nothing to divert my attention from the job in hand.’
      • ‘It did seem very appropriate to the situation in hand.’
      • ‘To explain this, it is necessary to underline the fact that the degree of political control over operations will vary according to the task in hand.’
      being dealt with, receiving attention, being attended to, under way
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1In progress.
        ‘negotiations are now well in hand’
        • ‘The building of the extra gullies was well in hand, and considerable progress had been made with the pitching of the surface of the roadway.’
    • 2Ready for use if required; in reserve.

      ‘he had £1,000 of borrowed cash in hand’
      • ‘The company had cash in hand of €1.2m at the end of 2002 and retained profits of €1,888,358.’
      • ‘With $105m cash in hand, however, Stewart is far from worried.’
      • ‘The second day, after a call from my new friend Steve and a complicated process of money being wired to the local consulate I faced the city with cash in hand, which is necessary to do any place justice.’
      • ‘With my excuse firmly in hand, I refocused my attention on what Wei was saying.’
      • ‘Plans were in hand to receive her helicopters and the doctors and nurses for her two operating theatres and 36 bed hospital.’
      • ‘Isis had her staff in hand, ready to do whatever was needed.’
      • ‘The company has investments of €667,734 and cash in hand at the bank of €1.4m, the figures show.’
      • ‘And if legal action against the Bank of England is successful, the islands will emerge from the BCCI disaster with cash in hand.’
      • ‘To do this it has to progress up the non-league pyramid, and steps are now in hand to begin the complete enclosure of the Sandgate playing area.’
      • ‘The sale price is a multiple of less than four times pre-tax profits at the company which has €4.2m cash in hand and no bank loans or overdrafts.’
      available for use, ready, available, put by
      View synonyms
    • 3Under one's control.

      ‘the police had the situation well in hand’
      • ‘If Clark is someone who will make a good president, he'll get this situation in hand.’
      • ‘Could they possibly already know everything they needed to know, and were no longer interested as long as the situation stayed well in hand?’
      • ‘Since you now have the situation well in hand I will leave you until next month.’
      • ‘The men were too drunk to scatter very far and the situation was back in hand very quickly.’
      • ‘At this time of the year, the garden seems to need constant tweaking and small attentions to detail in order to keep it in hand.’
      • ‘So I do trust his judgment, and I'm sure he's got the situation well in hand.’
      • ‘We were in front today and I had it all in hand; we were controlling the pace, the bike was going well and then something totally unexpected happens.’
      • ‘Bali is still worth a visit after the boom tragedy, because the situation is well in hand now.’
      • ‘The situation thus in hand, she then raised the bow and let fly an arrow.’
      • ‘Airport bosses are unaware of the reasons behind the captain's delay but insist that air traffic control had the incident in hand.’
      1. 3.1(of land) farmed directly by its owner and not let to tenants.
        • ‘The more farms in hand, the more subsidy - so vacated farms were invariably taken over by existing farmers.’
        • ‘The rest of the land is in hand and farmed by Aubourn; this year's crop is wheat.’
  • in safe hands

    • Protected by or in the care of someone trustworthy.

      ‘the future of the cathedral is in safe hands’
      • ‘They work for companies which have reassuring sounding names and they think they're in safe hands and they may find out later that they've been stung by some of the worst buildings in Australia.’
      • ‘The society retains possession of the library but can now be reassured that it is in safe hands and can be so much more widely used.’
      • ‘She insists that the care of the estates is in safe hands.’
      • ‘Of course Ellen's name was there and Amanda felt comfortable that Ellen was in safe hands now and that she and her baby would be just fine.’
      • ‘On seeing the efforts of the Ballon children the Minister said that he was confident that our environment was in safe hands.’
      • ‘I liked the way she held her scissors, the way she made customers feel special, confident that they were in safe hands.’
      • ‘The more I visit schools, the more confident I am that the future of our town is in safe hands.’
      • ‘The weekly club was a haven for carers who could either leave the person they cared for in safe hands for a few hours or stay and chat with others in the same situation.’
      • ‘If you are being cared for by Macmillan, you know you are in safe hands.’
      • ‘We are strictly governed by rules of professional conduct, which means the public are protected and can feel confident that they are in safe hands.’
      protected from danger, protected from harm, free from danger, sheltered, shielded, guarded, unharmed, undamaged, safe and sound, safe, out of harm's way, in a safe place, in safe hands, invulnerable, immune, impregnable, unassailable
      View synonyms
  • make (or lose or spend) money hand over fist

    • informal Make (or lose or spend) money very rapidly.

      ‘they are losing money hand over fist’
      • ‘But four-fifths of broadcast network TV is now delivered to homes by cable or satellite - not free - and NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox are making money hand over fist.’
      • ‘Sainsbury's is losing money hand over fist despite who they have got endorsing them.’
      • ‘They had apparently stockpiled a great deal of opium, and made money hand over fist from the ban.’
      • ‘The long-haul business will gradually come back over time but BA has been losing money hand over fist for the last four years in the European network, and I don't think what they are currently doing will resolve that problem in Europe.’
      • ‘However, we'd like to point out that not only are we losing money hand over fist, others really are benefiting financially from the tragedy.’
      • ‘While corporate America would rather be making money hand over fist, Robin argues, the neocons are in search of a fight ‘between good and evil, civilization and barbarism.’’
      • ‘‘Park Bench’ suggests that thanks to wireless technology, and especially thanks to IBM, individuals are free to not only make money hand over fist, but to do it at any time and in any place.’
      • ‘‘The UK is losing money hand over fist because of fake sick days, and the reason is employers just aren't handling their staff properly,’ said Sinclair.’
      • ‘Anyone who doesn't bother to check regularly whether they're getting value for money for their current financial products is probably losing money hand over fist.’
      • ‘Why are you all working jobs when you could be making money hand over fist at the casino?’
  • many hands make light work

    • proverb A task is soon accomplished if several people help.

      • ‘Catering will be a big item, but then again many hands make light work.’
      • ‘Putting the Lantern Parade together is a huge job and many hands make light work.’
      • ‘Just when you are thinking too many cooks spoil the broth, suddenly someone will remind you that many hands make light work.’
      • ‘The campaign was launched last Thursday night in the Seven Oaks Hotel but like all events, many hands make light work so the more people who can help make the event a success the better.’
      • ‘To quote the old saying, many hands make light work.’
      • ‘As many hands make light work, it is hoped that there will be a large turn out of helpers.’
      • ‘All are requested to participate and help, as many hands make light work.’
      • ‘Your help is required, all helpers please assemble at the Square, and many hands make light work!’
      • ‘But as many hands make light work, meals on wheels convenor Margaret Clark says she is always interested in hearing from people who can help getting the food to the clients.’
      • ‘The old proverb tells us that many hands make light work and it most definitely rings true for the East Mayo village of Kilmovee.’
  • not (or never) do a hand's turn

    • informal Do no work at all.

      ‘they sit there without doing a hand's turn’
      • ‘Not a hand's turn was done in the way of loading or discharging vessels until the announcement came on Friday afternoon that the strikers had their end.’
      • ‘He'll not be asked to do a hand's turn of work, and he'll be as happy as the day is long.’
      • ‘They are great at finding fault with other people's ploughing and mowing; but not a hand's turn will they do themselves.’
      • ‘Jaysus, him and Ethel didn't do nawthin but lay about all day and ate the grub that Norman worked so hard tee pay for and bejaysus they never did a hand's turn round the place.’
      • ‘You will toil night and day in behalf of an earthly master; yet you will not do a hand's turn for your heavenly Master.’
      • ‘H.M. thinks he can get Sasun to join the new Cabinet - I don't think he can and what's more I don't do a hand's turn to help him.’
      • ‘Karren had a fantastic day and did not a hand's turn of work.’
      • ‘In the house I'm not let do a hand's turn for myself: somebody else must do it and touch me for it.’
      • ‘My brothers used to laugh because I lived on a farm and wouldn't do a hand's turn on the farm.’
      • ‘Captain Hagberd, for instance, outlines to Bessie the duties of a good wife: ‘when a husband gets back from his work he needs a lot of water for a wash, not that [a beloved husband should] ever need to do a hand's turn after he comes home ’.’
  • off someone's hands

    • Not having to be dealt with or looked after by the person specified.

      ‘they just want the problem off their hands’
      • ‘To get a son off your hands, you may have to set him up with a dowry - some money or some animals or even some land; you'll certainly have to throw the wedding party.’
      • ‘If you have any books you would like to donate, particularly textbooks and reference works, please get in touch and we'll happily take them off your hands.’
      • ‘He offers to ‘take that garage off your hands,’ for $100K, as a ‘favor’ to Junior - to help out with his bills.’
      • ‘Now they give you a price to take it off your hands.’
      • ‘It might be only too happy if the council took St James House off its hands, possibly as part of a deal on the council's site opposite Haymarket Station.’
      • ‘There are two parties interested in taking the club off Boyle 's hands and Jackson hopes a deal might be concluded around the middle or second half of the new season.’
      • ‘Do you plan to get them all off your hands in 2005?’
      • ‘Mass communications and marketing have created a floodlit glare of consumerism: whatever your thing is, you are liable to have it taken off your hands, tidied up and sold back to you.’
      • ‘Marca reports Carvajal and an English agent are working on the deal and claim Real would be glad to get him off their hands.’
      • ‘If someone offers to take your child off your hands for an evening, or even for two hours, take it and go to the pub.’
  • on every hand

    • All around.

      ‘new technologies were springing up on every hand’
      • ‘The Left believe in NO inborn limits on what human arrangements will work whereas Mark sees limits on every hand.’
      • ‘Above me curves the blue arch; away on every hand stretches the yellow prairie, and scattered near and far are the dark forms of buffalo.’
      • ‘But what this book amply demonstrates is that hers was a full and very complex life, peopled by academics and celebrities on every hand, and that no simple ‘explanation’ can possibly account for all, or even any, of its events.’
      • ‘We come next to the wonderful subject of his virgin birth - a profound truth that is assailed on every hand today and, sad to relate, abandoned by many leaders of so-called Christendom.’
      • ‘I point out that, to the contrary, neo-Nazis are prone to very complex thinking - since their view of the world is contradicted on every hand.’
      • ‘When there was nothing but deadness on every hand, the Spirit of life kept him alive.’
      • ‘He is bombarded by advice from the conventionally wise who see danger on every hand.’
      • ‘However, he is prevented on every hand from achieving these modest goals.’
      • ‘I do not see how anyone can look with genuine openness at the surrounding world without a sense of mystery on every hand.’
      • ‘New branches of business are constantly springing up on every hand.’
  • on hand

    • 1Present, especially for a specified purpose.

      ‘her trainer was on hand to give advice’
      • ‘Grove, himself, will be on hand to present the screenwriting course.’
      • ‘The York league have provided the new trophy in memory of Fairclough and his family are expected to be on hand to present the cup to the winners.’
      • ‘Tipperary football All-Star Declan Browne will be on hand to make the presentations.’
      • ‘Mayor of Waterford, Seamus Ryan was on hand to present certificates at Waterford City Library.’
      • ‘The 2004 Rose will be on hand later to present the trophy to the winning connections in the race which bears her name.’
      • ‘The animals went through a special blessing ceremony before the tournament and there are specialist trainers on hand.’
      • ‘Kildare footballer John Doyle was on hand to present the county awards.’
      • ‘A strong police presence was on hand but the afternoon passed without incident.’
      • ‘Members of the Teaching Staff and a number of present students will be on hand to provide information also.’
      • ‘Boxing star, David Walker, from Sidcup, was on hand to present Saunders with his award.’
      ready, at the ready, available, accessible, handy, at one's fingertips
      prepared, primed, on standby, standing by, on stand-to, on call, on full alert
      on tap
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Readily available.
        ‘she kept stocks of delicacies on hand’
        • ‘That means that fewer spares need to be kept on hand to assure the same level of safety as in a Mars mission.’
        • ‘Change needles often, and keep a stock of your most frequently used needles on hand.’
        • ‘Having this stuff on hand is half the battle, so stock up, straighten out and fly right!’
        • ‘In the meantime, Alam Faizad is ready to make do with what's on hand.’
        • ‘One way to invest cautiously is to buy a good stock mutual fund that has lots of cash on hand.’
        • ‘The problem is that cash on hand isn't always available to directly pay off debt.’
        • ‘Each of these has its own set of standards on such things as how much reserve power to keep on hand.’
        • ‘If you don't have homemade chicken stock on hand, use canned or a powdered base.’
        • ‘Beartooth is a true custom casting company with very little stock on hand.’
        • ‘In truth, no one wanted to blow a chance at a sale by admitting they keep spare parts on hand to fix glasses under warranty.’
        ready, at the ready, available, accessible, handy, at one's fingertips
        prepared, primed, on standby, standing by, on stand-to, on call, on full alert
        on tap
        View synonyms
    • 2Needing to be dealt with.

      ‘they had many urgent and pressing matters on hand’
      • ‘I believe that all of us should give our best to the work on hand.’
      • ‘Clearly our new business manager at Athletics Ireland has a huge task on hand to market the sport and get big crowds back to see the sport.’
      • ‘Thanks was extended to John Robinson, the regular judge, for all his commitment and dedication to the job on hand.’
  • on someone's hands

    • 1Used to indicate that someone is responsible for dealing with someone or something.

      ‘he has a difficult job on his hands’
      • ‘So Captain Sherpa locally and NATO nationally have a vast job on their hands, which means you'll see this for years to come, foreign soldiers on Afghan streets.’
      • ‘Make no mistake, the manager and his staff have still got a difficult job on their hands, and it's a very strict budget they will have to work to in the coming months.’
      • ‘When you have very large crowds it only takes a few people to fall down some stairs and you can have a major panic on your hands.’
      • ‘The Administration's lawyers plainly have a job on their hands, and European allies should hold them up to the highest legal standards of argument.’
      • ‘They have a huge job on their hands but they will look more closely at the anomalies.’
      • ‘Allardyce admits Wanderers will have a tough job on their hands tomorrow.’
      • ‘They failed miserably to do so in the run-up to the May election and will have a job on their hands again to convince people.’
      • ‘They all clearly know that they have quite a job on their hands, because there have been so many versions.’
      • ‘The analysts said Thomson had a very difficult job on his hands.’
      • ‘Teachers in England, who have been instructed by MP David Blunkett to stop children using mobiles at school except for ‘essential’ calls, will have a job on their hands.’
      1. 1.1Used to indicate that someone is to blame for something.
        ‘he has my son's blood on his hands’
        • ‘Oh, ACLU, don't you have enough blood on your hands?’
        • ‘If, during the process, we determine that someone does have blood on their hands from the former regime, they will be fired from whatever they've been hired to do immediately.’
        • ‘Blood will be on your hands either way - it just depends on how much blood is on your hands now compared to later…’
        • ‘The American media have blood on their hands.’
        • ‘Despite tight security the premier was interrupted as he began his speech with a heckler shouting: ‘You have got blood on your hands.’’
        • ‘I certainly do not in any way think my husband's blood is on your hands and I applaud your efforts, referring to the president, in the arena dealing with the associated issues.’
        • ‘It was precisely the Shah's slamming of the opposition that prepared the grounds for the extreme reaction of the Islamic fundamentalists and people like yourself have blood on your hands for supporting the Shah.’
        • ‘Prime minister, have you got blood on your hands?’
        • ‘And then the cameras panned high up to the gallery where two young women were standing, one holding a ‘Blood on your hands ' banner.’
        • ‘There was one British reporter who yelled, ‘You have blood on your hands, Prime Minister.’’
    • 2At someone's disposal.

      ‘since I retired I've had more time on my hands’
      • ‘I mean, if you were banking 40 grand or more a week, and had a copious amount of free time on your hands, there are surely a million more imaginative ways to spend your time than mincing around celeb-studded night clubs in your Gucci threads!’
      • ‘The very fact that you took the time to post your thoughts on the internet show that you not only have too much time on your hands but that you have an overwhelming self importance typical of most medical students.’
      • ‘New members are always welcome, so if you find yourself with extra time on your hands and would like to meet new people and develop new interests why not come along to the next meeting at the Oak Tree Community Centre in Borris.’
      • ‘The Canso plant was enduring one of its many shutdowns and all I could see was another bleak winter ahead of me, with time on my hands and no job to go to.’
      • ‘Combine that with a product perfectly suited to e-commerce and you have a great opportunity on your hands."’
      • ‘If you're just avidly curious with way too much time on your hands, check out the generations of good-bye notes, starting with the AOL acquisition of Netscape and continuing up to the present day.’
      • ‘So who exactly is going to take care of these school-age children with many unplanned hours of free time on their hands and no responsible adult assigned or available to take care of them?’
      • ‘There are far too many hours of gameplay in Fable as it is, and the nearly infinite decision-dependent variations mean if you've got far too much time on your hands, you'll probably enjoy repeating the entire game over and over again.’
      • ‘Vacation Observation #427: You know you have too much time on your hands when you start recognizing known contemporary actors in bit parts on bad TV programs.’
      • ‘If you have free time on your hands then use it on a Friday at 11 am in the Community Centre where you can avail of a yoga class for an amazingly low-priced £2.’
  • on the one (or the other) hand

    • Used to present factors which are opposed or which support opposing opinions.

      ‘a conflict between their rationally held views on the one hand and their emotions and desires on the other’
      • ‘On the other hand, we're not allowed to ship apples to Australia for a much smaller risk.’
      • ‘On the other hand, there are those who are at large but whose addresses are well known or ought to be known to the police.’
      • ‘On the other hand, will someone please explain why so many roses are permanently hooked up with weeds?’
      • ‘On the other hand, a number of species collected were found in only a single drainage.’
      • ‘On the other hand, dispatching the form electronically will at least overcome such petty frustrations.’
      • ‘On the other hand if I don't have the money to leave a tip, I don't sweat over it.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the North ought to follow suit, respecting the principle of reciprocity.’
      • ‘On the other hand, plum cake contains dry fruits but no apple or carrot, and is baked rather than steamed.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the organic apple juice had patulin at rates of up to 45,000 micrograms per litre.’
      • ‘On the other hand puberty is a time for experimentation, and things often get exaggerated in the media.’
      on the other hand, as an alternative, or, as another option, as a substitute, as a replacement
      View synonyms
  • out of hand

    • 1Not under control.

      ‘things were getting a bit out of hand at the picket line’
      • ‘I think we're already beginning to see cash diplomacy getting a little bit out of hand.’
      • ‘The wild flowers are getting a bit out of hand and I've had to do a little selective pruning.’
      • ‘We had a committee inquiry to hear how the Inland Revenue Department could get a bit out of hand.’
      • ‘It was certainly a boost to the ego to have all those female fans idolising you, but it did get a bit out of hand sometimes.’
      • ‘We wanted to make a side program to that but it grew a little bit out of hand.’
      • ‘Just take for example, you and I were at a party and we had a bit of an argument and it got a little bit out of hand.’
      • ‘It was a pity that the game got a bit out of hand in the last quarter and that three players were sidelined.’
      • ‘It was a bit unusual but I just thought someone who hated dogs and was crazy just let things get a bit out of hand.’
      • ‘I am sorry to interrupt the honourable member, but interjections are getting a bit out of hand.’
      • ‘There are moments when Caribbean winds, normally an elixir, get a bit out of hand.’
      out of control, uncontrollable, unmanageable, ungovernable, unruly, disorderly, rowdy, wild, boisterous, difficult, disruptive, ill-disciplined, undisciplined, refractory, recalcitrant, intractable, impossible, obstreperous, fractious, wayward, incorrigible
      View synonyms
    • 2Without taking time to think.

      ‘they rejected negotiations out of hand’
      • ‘I think you are lucky that you were brought up in regional Australia because you cannot dismiss it out of hand.’
      • ‘Anyone else have an opinion on this matter than I can reject out of hand or use to bolster my position?’
      • ‘However, a few months later the Assembly of the League of Nations rejected out of hand the proposal as being premature.’
      • ‘One, that we did not reject out of hand a great offer that was made to us in Camp David.’
      • ‘Disagree with me by all means, dear reader, but don't dismiss me out of hand.’
      • ‘Klotz rejects out of hand the idea that a retirement should be a time for slowing down.’
      • ‘Howard claims to be flabbergasted that anyone should reject it out of hand.’
      • ‘The Sunday Herald has seen the confidential document which prompted the SRU to reject the deal out of hand.’
      • ‘His last attempt at negotiating with an unwavering leader has now been rejected out of hand.’
      • ‘To be a university president, you are supposed to reject any such notion out of hand.’
  • the right hand doesn't know what the left hand's doing

    • Used to convey that there is a state of confusion within a group or organization.

      • ‘The problem I have with the IRS is that the tax code is so wretchedly complicated that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing.’
      • ‘The saying "the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" was never more true than in modern day Cuba.’
  • a safe pair of hands

    • 1(in a sporting context) used to refer to someone who is reliable when catching a ball.

      ‘he has a safe pair of hands and made the catch look easy’
      • ‘Coel showed he had a safe pair of hands when the embarrassed goalkeeper tossed the gloves into the Stretford End just before he disappeared down the tunnel.’
      • ‘Particularly Pietersen, oddly enough, since he is a fine fielder, an intelligent cricketer and a safe pair of hands.’
      • ‘Traditionally our goalkeepers have been a safe pair of hands but with David James, he is likely to pull of the best save of the tournament and then let a soft one in.’
      • ‘Terry Pearson broke up several threatening attacks and Bentley was once again showing a safe pair of hands in the home goal.’
      • ‘He is also a very good fielder with a safe pair of hands.’
      1. 1.1Used to denote someone who is capable, reliable, or trustworthy in the management of a situation.
        ‘they were searching for a safe pair of hands to oversee the running of the lottery’
        • ‘In each case he was brought in [to the Central Bank] to be a safe pair of hands during a crisis.’
        • ‘A month's contract stretched to three then was extended to the end of the season - giving Wanderers a safe pair of hands to cover for the suspended Jussi Jaaskelainen for the two Easter games.’
        • ‘The young cast have grown into their roles and director Chris Columbus displays a confidence won by convincing everyone that he is a safe pair of hands, who will do nothing to betray or disappoint Potter fans.’
        • ‘Entrusted with a 150 million budget, Sam Raimi is both a safe pair of hands and an inspired, quirky choice to bring the 40-year-old Marvel superhero to the screen.’
        • ‘In the short term, management will want to install a safe pair of hands in the editor's chair, someone who can pull off the balancing act of both stemming the Mirror's falling circulation and keeping their head down.’
        • ‘Among the second echelon, Liam Fox has 10 declared supporters, but his image is of a safe pair of hands in a senior Cabinet position, rather than of a party leader at a time of immense challenge.’
        • ‘That he is now regarded as a safe pair of hands by Hibs' under-pressure board is a tribute to the way in which he overcame a difficult settling-in period to become the league's longest-serving manager.’
        • ‘Regarded as a safe pair of hands, he manages to combine a strong streak of entrepreneurship with a cautious and balanced approach to control and risk.’
        • ‘Those who saw him as a safe pair of hands when he succeeded a dispirited Paul Sturrock in August presumably thought the former Aberdeen and St Mirren manager would use such experience to bolster a struggling squad.’
        • ‘With solid work like Brassed Off, Little Voice and even Purely Belter behind him, writer-director Mark Herman would appear to be a safe pair of hands in which to entrust your cinema admission fee.’
  • set (or put) one's hand to

    • Start work on.

      ‘having set his hand to any task, he would see it through to the end’
      • ‘He has set his hand to designing furniture, decorative multiples, watches, posters and ceramics, and, with his wife, Carol, has amassed, through buying and trading, an important collection of the art of his time.’
      • ‘They explored every direction they could imagine going in, and succeeded in producing beautiful songs in whatever musical style they put their hand to.’
      • ‘I really am thoroughly mediocre at everything I've ever put my hand to: advertising, academia, journalism.’
      • ‘It is understandable that Eerdmans would request Crenshaw to set his hand to the task of introducing the Psalter since his famed 1981 introduction Old Testament Wisdom has been helpful to so many.’
      • ‘Anything he put his hand to he made a success of it.’
      • ‘‘I will definitely miss the camaraderie and the friendship but, overall, I am happy to move on and put my hand to something else,’ he concluded.’
      • ‘Later, in the midcentury, as he put his hand to the defense of a new kind of sea science, he reached for the chronometer as a way to make sense of the oceans.’
      • ‘Some time ago, Bancroft set her hand to painting Bunyips, and this is her pitiful result.’
      • ‘But after a year's association with the CHRISTIAN CENTURY I want to set my hand to writing an occasional piece in this space.’
      • ‘I personally think it is one of the more daring pieces I have put my hand to in a while and I like a lot of it, although I am far from saying that is not in need of serious revision; much of it needs considerable work.’
  • stay someone's hand

    • Restrain someone from acting.

      ‘his feelings made him stay his hand before announcing his decision’
      • ‘The Americans know it too and largely for this reason, leaned on the Kurds to stay their hand and stand down on Kirkuk, for the moment at least.’
      • ‘France and Russia, the two countries most opposed to the use of force, have stayed Washington's hand and a compromise should be accepted in which force will only be used if weapons inspectors are thwarted in their efforts.’
      • ‘After an exhausting fight, Vader is poised to finish Luke off, but he stays his hand.’
      • ‘Many have been staying their hand for years waiting for new laws allowing them to share part of their spouse's pension.’
      • ‘Perhaps with an appeal looming, he was also entitled to stay his hand on much comment, anyway.’
      • ‘But it would be a crime greater than the crime that provoked such an act, and in the end that would stay our hand.’
      • ‘The company has rejected Gallagher's pleas to stay its hand.’
      • ‘Perhaps they stayed their hand because they knew closing a newspaper would provoke criticism stateside.’
      • ‘There are people who are weighing the costs and benefits carefully, and because they're weighting the risks of action more highly than inaction, they wish to stay our hand.’
      • ‘The disciplinary committee will clearly have stayed their hand during the legal proceedings but I would assume it will now be reviewed by the committee, who will take whatever action they deem necessary.’
  • take a hand

    • Become influential in determining something; intervene.

      ‘fate was about to take a hand in the outcome of the championship’
      • ‘From now on they will be expected to take a hand in their own training and career development, identify their own teaching weaknesses and play a role in devising systems that best deliver education to our children.’
      • ‘It is our hope that the book will reach people, will open the eyes of those who haven't had a chance to experience the problems of the developing world, of those less fortunate than themselves, and motivate them to take a hand in the solution.’
      • ‘Well, it was, that is before our lords and masters took a hand.’
      • ‘The two families travelled together as a group to Normandy for the various events but it was during a reception prior to the ceremony on Omaha beach that fate took a hand.’
      • ‘As it was, family circumstances took a hand in ensuring that he ended up at Hearts this time around.’
      • ‘Points were swopped and it looked very much as though the spoils would be shared, that is until the youngsters took a hand.’
      • ‘Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman took a hand in negotiations in an effort to avert a strike but was not willing to offer any additional money.’
      • ‘Aged 18, the dole office beckoned, but fate took a hand on the final day of filming when they were offered a recording contract à la Robson & Jerome.’
      • ‘It was one of the newcomers, Rob Higham, that took the plaudits in the first quarter of the game as he took a hand in three goals.’
      • ‘Then Carlow took a hand in their own destiny and posted points from Brian Carbery and Johnny Nevin to equalise in the 29th minute.’
      mediate, act as an intermediary, intermediate, negotiate, arbitrate, moderate, conciliate, act as honest broker, intervene, interpose, step in, become involved, get involved, act, take action, take measures, take a hand
      View synonyms
  • take someone/something in hand

    • Deal with or take control of someone or something.

      ‘their parents are incapable of taking their children in hand’
      • ‘The situation was only taken in hand after refugees pressed staff to do something, so concerned were they about her welfare.’
      • ‘If she is not taken in hand and directed on the right lines, hers could be a talent that is wasted.’
      • ‘When Tilly had returned to London for this season I had quickly taken her in hand.’
      • ‘Asked by a shareholder if the Stadium owners would be prepared to pay out of pocket expenses, Garvey said they would take the matter in hand.’
      • ‘It is evident that the great captain had taken in hand far too many enterprises.’
      • ‘Katie is quite a women in the end and takes the whole thing in hand.’
      • ‘The Tudors were the first of the English to take Ireland in hand seriously.’
      • ‘The union can easily answer that its members take technology and multi-skilling in hand.’
      • ‘Fortunately Mrs. Collins was a fairly intelligent woman and took matters in hand.’
      • ‘At least, on the rare occasion that I have been witness to it, they are the only people willing to take the matter in hand.’
      deal with, handle, manage, cope with, tackle, take care of, take charge of, attend to, give one's attention to, see to, sort out
      View synonyms
  • talk to the hand

    • informal [in imperative]Used as a contemptuous way of dismissing what someone has said (often accompanied by a gesture in which the palm of the hand is held in front of the original speaker's face)

      ‘talk to the hand, girl, 'cos the face ain't listening’
      • ‘I don't have any idea; I tried to ask him and all he did was shout "talk to the hand" back at me until I left the room.’
      • ‘Jupiter says "talk to the hand", and reports Debbie to security.’
      • ‘"Talk to the hand, grandma."’
      • ‘Talk to the hand 'cause the rich and powerful ain't listening to you.’
      • ‘I am so tired of your rants so from now on tell it to the hand cos the face ain't listenin' as they say in your fave culture.’
      • ‘If you have any constructive corrections, then I'm open to suggestions but iff all you have are put downs and bad mouthing, then tell it to the hand, and step off.’
      • ‘Now talk to the hand 'cause the head ain't listening.’
      • ‘I half expected him to snap his fingers and in a sassy voice proclaim "talk to the hand."’
      • ‘And if he won't even discuss it meaningfully in the first place, then yes, you might want to tell him to talk to the hand.’
      • ‘"Talk to the hand", was always his reply.’
  • to hand

    • Within easy reach.

      ‘have a pen and paper to hand’
      • ‘To use these sites, consumers will need to have copies of their most recent utility bills to hand.’
      • ‘The moral is to be prepared and always have an umbrella near to hand, just in case!’
      • ‘All borrowers need to do is have their membership number to hand, ready to enter using the phone keys.’
      • ‘It is quite handy to have such an instrument to hand, but foolish to make use of it at every opportunity.’
      • ‘Hmm, wish I had the movie to hand so I could aim my critical blade with greater accuracy.’
      • ‘After a few minutes I had the fish close to hand where I could bend down and slip out the hook.’
      • ‘Having this detailed information to hand can make it easier to find the most appropriate deal.’
      • ‘Puzzled and perplexed by all this, I went a bit further into the material to hand.’
      • ‘He invited us to sit on the toilet, the only seating that was ready to hand in his office.’
      • ‘The big bonus here is that all the fun and games of the casino are close to hand.’
      readily available, available, handy, near at hand, within reach, accessible, ready, close, close by, near, nearby, at the ready, at one's fingertips, at one's disposal, convenient
      View synonyms
  • turn one's hand to

    • Undertake (an activity different from one's usual occupation)

      ‘a music teacher who turned his hand to writing books’
      • ‘Jamie excelled at most things that he turned his hand to.’
      • ‘A farmer by occupation, he could turn his hand to other jobs, too, such as building, carpentry, gardening, butchering, poetry and lots of other chores about the house.’
      • ‘So the audience also requires the makeup artists who makeup the humans - and that's what Peter's turning his hand to now: training film and TV makeup artists.’
      • ‘‘That's why I can turn my hand to so many different jobs,’ he said.’
      • ‘Shakespeare turned his hand to more literary endeavours; in April 1593, Venus and Adonis was entered in the Stationers Register, and in June, Richard Field, a Stratford man, published it.’
      • ‘The late Nellie was a woman of many talents and could turn her hand to many different crafts.’
      • ‘Last year he turned his hand to transport design, undertaking a €35 million makeover of Eurostar trains.’
      • ‘His was a talent to touch on many different topics: he turned his hand to criticism about music, the drama and the visual arts.’
      • ‘I can't wait to turn my hand to some different projects and to spend more time with my family.’
      • ‘An avid bodyboarder since he was 13, Steve says that the surf lifestyle influenced everything he turned his hand to, including his design degree at university.’
      tackle, take on, take on oneself, take up, accept, shoulder, handle, assume, manage, deal with, take responsibility for, take forward, be responsible for
      View synonyms
  • wait on someone hand and foot

    • Attend to all someone's needs or requests, especially when this is regarded as unreasonable.

      ‘I was wallowing in the luxury of the hotel, being waited on hand and foot’
      • ‘He pampered me as he always does when I'm sick and waited on me hand and foot and now I feel so overwhelmingly guilty that I'm just going to pack it in and go to bed before he says ‘are you ok?’’
      • ‘This ensures that anyone around you doesn't forget said fact and knows that it is their God given duty to wait on you hand and foot.’
      • ‘But that's the thing - people wait on you hand and foot.’
      • ‘I'm an old woman, I can't be expected to wait on you hand and foot for the rest of my life.’
      • ‘I also surmised that she is one of these women who is subservient to her husband and waits on him hand and foot.’
      • ‘I suppose it is rather easy to get spoiled when you have servants waiting on you hand and foot.’
      • ‘Right from the start, the aging mother, Mag, is demanding, and expects her daughter to wait on her hand and foot.’
      • ‘‘We had our own private island - our own beach, our own swimming pool, three people to wait on us hand and foot and the most incredible water - completely unpolluted, completely blue and warm - and just utter heaven,’ she said.’
      • ‘I was a petulant teenager with a terrible temper (which I've lost) who assumed that my parents were only here to wait on me hand and foot (all that has clearly changed in the last two decades as well).’
      • ‘Sons, on the other hand, are still being reared to expect women to wait on them hand and foot.’
      pamper, spoil, overindulge, coddle, mollycoddle, cosset, nanny, nursemaid, mother, baby, pet, spoon-feed, feather-bed, wrap in cotton wool, overparent
      View synonyms
  • with one hand (tied) behind one's back

    • With serious limitations or restrictions.

      ‘at the moment, the police are tackling record crime rates with one hand tied behind their back’
      • ‘Companies operate with one hand tied behind their back, lose business, cannot afford to operate and close.’
      • ‘It's sometimes tough for foreign companies to meet the ethnic quotas, so they are sometimes competing with one hand tied behind their back.’
      • ‘Here he was a successful president with one hand tied behind his back, always under assault by a hostile Congress and the nutcase right.’
      • ‘Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand.’
      • ‘The effects of the cuts have been so severe that no matter how diligent the remaining council staff they are left with one hand tied behind their back.’
      • ‘They'll think we're fighting with one hand tied behind our back and potential deserters will think twice before changing sides.’
      • ‘One of the biggest issues we heard about the Viet Nam war was that our men and women were forced to fight the war with one hand tied behind their back.’
      • ‘Without this, we are trying to fight fraudsters with one hand tied behind our back.’
      • ‘He's forcing them, the scientific community, to really go forward with these potential breakthroughs, with one hand tied behind their back.’
      • ‘We can compete, but we cannot do it with one hand tied behind our back.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • hand something down

    • 1Pass something on to a younger person or a successor.

      ‘songs are handed down from mother to daughter’
      • ‘The techniques were handed down from mother to daughter and men had nothing to do with the whole process, other than to sell whatever was left over.’
      • ‘All those people are no more, the motherland is unified but their distinguished words are handed down.’
      • ‘The techniques have been handed down to successive generations.’
      • ‘It used to belong to my father, but before he passed away he handed it down to me.’
      • ‘Teachers of the lineage transmit the Buddha's knowledge as it has been handed down from teacher to student through the ages.’
      • ‘The songs were handed down in special hand-copied notebooks.’
      • ‘In India, much as it used to be three or four generations ago in America, methods and recipes are handed down directly from mother to daughter, with no written instructions to interfere.’
      • ‘The major difference between a gift and a theft is that of handing something down as opposed to underhandedly taking something away; in giving, the act itself creates links, whereas in taking all links are denied.’
      • ‘Of course they can conserve these things only by handing them down, by passing them on to their children, or to somebody's children.’
      • ‘The silver pendant I see around your neck was your father's wedding gift to her; it has been handed down through the eldest daughters and queens of your house for over a thousand years.’
      pass on, pass down
      bequeath, will, leave, leave in one's will, make over, endow, gift, transfer, give, transmit
      demise, devise
      View synonyms
    • 2Announce something, especially a judgement or sentence, formally or publicly.

      ‘it was the most liberal decision ever handed down by a football authority’
      • ‘Though the Feb. deadline for the course catalogue already passed, Stewart expected that approval of the program would be handed down in the last few weeks.’
      • ‘I ought formally to hand the judgment down, unless, having read it, you have noticed any errors or omissions?’
      • ‘Two weeks later the formal decision was handed down to close the private bank, a bitter pill that Citigroup recently disclosed cost it $244 million in the fourth quarter alone.’
      • ‘Asked if he felt remorse after his sentence was handed down, Graner said: ‘There's a war on.’’
      • ‘He had done some work experience and had just started college when his sentence was handed down.’
      • ‘We figured it's a good time to revisit a fascinating hour we spent with her last July just days after her sentence had been handed down.’
      • ‘One way round such fears is to allow the relatives to speak after the sentence has been handed down, some critics suggest.’
      • ‘In Cambodia, sentences are handed down with convictions.’
      • ‘Stiff jail sentences were handed down to two men for a vicious city centre attack which, Salisbury crown court heard on Friday, made one shocked bystander ‘feel sick’ to see.’
      • ‘Many judgements have been handed down in Germany which have excluded Islamic girls from school classes.’
      utter, give, make, read, recite, broadcast, give voice to, voice, speak, declaim
      View synonyms
  • hand something in

    • Give something to a person in authority for their attention.

      ‘we handed in a letter of protest’
      • ‘In order to receive the said pizza, the Vets would just have to finish five book reports and hand them in to the proper authorities for inspection.’
      • ‘The letters were handed in along with a 3,000-signature petition calling for Interbrew to reverse its decision.’
      • ‘Youngsters can submit their ideas on paper and should hand them in at the shop by December 24.’
      • ‘You'll need to complete it and hand it in when registering.’
      • ‘The required CM29 form which notes a change in directorships of a company was handed in at the Registrar of Companies on April 3 this year.’
      • ‘The man was unaware of the concern he had caused and when he realised what had happened he handed the gun in voluntarily to the police.’
      • ‘If you wish to submit any articles please hand them in to Thomas Keane before this date.’
      • ‘If you find your grandpa's old pistol in the loft you can hand it in to a Registered Firearms Dealer without penalty.’
      • ‘Several people have handed the letters in to Gardaí, he told The Kingdom.’
      • ‘The silent walk of protest will take place on Sunday, January 5, starting at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin at 2pm and ending at the Archbishop's Palace in Drumcondra, where the letter will be handed in.’
      put forward, present, set forth, offer, proffer, tender, advance, propose, suggest, volunteer, table, lodge, introduce, come up with, raise, air, moot
      View synonyms
  • hand someone off

    • Push away a tackling opponent with one's hand.

      • ‘Moments later the visitors took the lead for the first time as Williams handed off Andrew Trimble to score the match's only try 11 minutes into the second half.’
      • ‘Davies handed off his man and released flanker and man of the match Tom Hocking for a charge up the touchline.’
  • hand something on

    • 1Pass something to the next person in a series or succession.

      ‘he had handed on the family farm to his son’
      • ‘Giuliani preached personal responsibility to the city's citizens, but he led by the example of his own willingness to take responsibility for making the city work and handing it on to his successor in markedly better shape than he found it.’
      • ‘‘They had been in my family for generations, and the idea was to hand them on to my children,’ he said.’
      • ‘But they remain less than owners; they are more like trustees, with an obligation to maintain the structure and hand it on to successors in good working order.’
      give, pass, hand, transfer, grant, cede, surrender, relinquish
      part with, let go of
      bequeath, will, leave
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Pass responsibility for something to someone else; delegate.
        ‘for most managers there is little choice but to hand on work’
        • ‘Two Charlestown-based ladies who covered some of this area for many years, Angela Casey and Bernie Mulligan and were organisers of Daffodil Day, have handed the baton on to a younger generation from here on.’
        • ‘You are handing the baton on to somebody else, and you hope the chap you are giving it to is going to run twice as fast.’
        • ‘Duffy missed both straightforward kicks at goal before handing the duty on to Weisner who went on to land five from six.’
        • ‘I will be very sad to leave them but I know I am handing them on to a well-trained young team who value the horses and the work they do.’
        • ‘He would rather have handed the post on to Wendy Alexander, his special adviser during his time as Scottish secretary and his protégé in the cabinet.’
        • ‘He talks about handing batons on, of the uselessness of the country's universities in providing its galleries with the proper staff, of the neglect of connoisseurship, of the absence of a latter - day Bernard Berenson or Kenneth Clark.’
        • ‘At 8pm, we handed the vigil on to the next time zone.’
        • ‘The upshot was that the ‘investigating magistrate’ eventually handed the case on to the intelligence unit, to peruse the evidence in full.’
        • ‘The market town's museum will be responsible for it for six weeks before handing it on.’
        • ‘They temporarily handed the baton on to those bonny Charlestown fighters last year and the ‘Town’ did us proud, too.’
        give, pass, hand, transfer, grant, cede, surrender, relinquish
        View synonyms
  • hand something out

    • 1Give a share of something or one of a set of things to each of a number of people; distribute.

      ‘Ralph handed out cigars’
      • ‘However, Scottish Power has said it is likely to get rid of its Thus shares by handing them out to its own shareholders.’
      • ‘Topman gift cards will be handed out for free, featuring amounts from £1 to £200 for people to spend in store.’
      • ‘Free low-energy bulbs will be handed out today in the Mill Gate centre in Bury.’
      • ‘Police were so concerned, special kits for marking valuables called SmartWater kits have been handed out for free in the area.’
      • ‘The pub will also be doing street promotions where vouchers for a free drink will be handed out, which doubles as an entry form.’
      • ‘Beer giant Budweiser is to be hauled before a court to explain how a promotional event where free drinks were handed out to revellers ended in the death of a student.’
      • ‘Compensation also came from a charity fund, which accumulated donations from all over the world, divided the money into 352 equal shares and handed it out to close relatives.’
      • ‘There was also an exhibition showing how Frenchwood has changed over the years, and free pedometers were handed out.’
      • ‘Gifts not distributed during the party will be handed out to pre-schools early in 2005, the NMCF announced yesterday.’
      • ‘Also, better yet, ingratiate your gaming buddies big time by handing bunches of them out.’
      distribute, hand round, give out, give round, pass out, pass round, share out, dole out, dish out, deal out, mete out, issue, circulate, dispense
      allocate, allot, apportion, disburse, disseminate
      View synonyms
    • 2Impose or inflict a penalty or misfortune on someone.

      ‘harsher punishments are being handed out to reckless drivers’
      • ‘In May, eight caravans were taken straight off the road, mainly because they were too heavy for the vehicles towing them, while two fixed penalties and 13 warnings were handed out for the same reason.’
      • ‘If it is badly done, stiff penalties are handed out.’
      • ‘Strict penalties will be handed out to those involved in the smuggling or illegal collection of birds, he added.’
      • ‘The reason - what the Ninth Circuit is looking at - the issue here is how the death penalty was handed out in the first place, whether it was a judge or jury.’
      • ‘Although publisher Greg McLean insists that the decision to reprimand the journalists was his alone, a memo was circulated to CanWest publishers and editors around the country on the day the disciplinary measures were handed out.’
      • ‘Time and time again fouls were committed, and no punishment was handed out.’
      • ‘Indeed, punishments are handed out differentially on this basis all the time.’
      • ‘Xinhua did not specify which kinds of punishments were handed out, or describe the nature of the civil servants' negligent acts.’
      • ‘The punishments were handed out on Thursday in Sydney after a four-hour disciplinary hearing led by the International Rugby Board's judicial officer Brian McLaughlin.’
      • ‘Financial penalties will be handed out to councils who fail to meet targets.’
  • hand over

    • Pass responsibility to someone else.

      ‘he will soon hand over to a new director’
      • ‘However, after seven years, the time has come for me to hand over to a new Chair who can build on those achievements.’
      • ‘"It really is time for me to hand over to the next generation.’
      pass, hand on, send on, transfer, remit, direct, leave, commit, entrust, assign, hand over
      View synonyms
  • hand someone/thing over

    • Give someone or something, or the responsibility for someone or something, to someone else.

      ‘her parents handed her over to be brought up by her grandparents’
      • ‘Officers said they could not move the car as it was not in a dangerous position, so they handed the matter over to the Borough Council.’
      • ‘Forty years ago, a parent usually had to hand an ailing child over to a nurse and be told to come back at visiting time; no wonder the after-effects were a lot more than physical.’
      • ‘It used to be that parents would hand their children over and not see them until at least the end of term - or, in some cases, the end of their school careers.’
      • ‘He told Scotland on Sunday that Dewar hadn't known about the secret cost increases at the time because responsibility for the project had been handed over to Steel.’
      • ‘‘After the children were handed over to foster parents, I was only allowed to see them in the presence of social workers,’ said Sheila.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman for the MoD said the matter was subject to an internal investigation, but that if it was felt there was a need for a criminal investigation, the matter would be handed over to police.’
      • ‘Should police locate where Joanna is, one of the powers open to them is to enforce a Police Protection Order, which gives them the power to take Joanna into their care before handing her over to her parents or social services.’
      • ‘When a parent hands their children over to the school it is the school's responsibility to look after them.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, badly needed investment in the Underground is mired in a row over the arrangements under which responsibility for it will be handed over to the GLA.’
      • ‘When a soldier is found dead the matter is handed over to the civilian police.’
      yield, give, give up, pass, grant, entrust, surrender, relinquish, cede, turn over, deliver up, forfeit, sacrifice
      confer on, bestow on
      View synonyms
  • hand something round (or around)

    • Offer something to each of a number of people in turn.

      ‘a big box of chocolates was handed round’
      • ‘The petition process involves multiple steps with various twists, and the petition cases are handed around among various departments in a way that is incomprehensible to ordinary people.’
      • ‘Various products were handed round for all to try, smell etc., and many went home with very smooth hands from the sampling!’
      • ‘I did not buy a copy, indeed I did not know anyone who did, but it was handed around among my friends as something of a joke.’
      • ‘They are printing off the stories and handing them around to keep people informed over there.’
      • ‘The sales just look low because we believe in handing books around.’
      • ‘Or you could buy a box of Beecham's Pills, and hand them round.’
      • ‘Traditional sweets were handed round after the deal, as the convicted men and the relatives of their victims embraced each other.’
      • ‘About lunchtime there was more eating and chat and a few smoky barbecues lit up and bangers and burgers were handed around.’
      • ‘Many a time you and Fraser mixed your dough and made your shapes to put in the oven and then handed them round for tasting, proud as punch.’
      • ‘Once home, they placed it in a basket which they handed round with the port after dinner so that guests could pay their respects.’
      distribute, hand round, give out, give round, pass out, pass round, share out, dole out, dish out, deal out, mete out, issue, circulate, dispense
      View synonyms


Old English hand, hond, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hand and German Hand.