Definition of hand-me-down in English:



  • A garment or other item that has been passed on from another person.

    • ‘Barbara tended to wear her elder sister's hand-me-downs, the skirts turned inside out to get the best use out of them.’
    • ‘Like all of his other clothes, these were hand-me-downs.’
    • ‘His mother was a domestic in Miami Beach, and along with hand-me-downs from the wealthy families she worked for, she brought home tales of the spiritual impoverishment that accompanied their plenty.’
    • ‘Juniors like that won't tolerate hand-me-downs or patched knees; they want everything shiny, new, and up-to-date, and they tend to get it without so much as a thank you.’
    • ‘The day of the hand-me-downs among family and friends is truly gone with parents opting to buy new baby equipment.’
    • ‘I already have all his hand-me-downs like his shirts and TV tray, so I might as well use his battle gear.’
    • ‘What clothing wasn't handmade was usually hand-me-downs.’
    • ‘With no money coming in (Andrew likely never received the army pension he was due), the girls wore hand-me-downs from their Milford Haven cousins and Philip grew up learning the value of economizing.’
    • ‘We don't even have that many hand-me-downs, as we gave most of them away because we didn't expect another baby.’
    • ‘Everything you own is second-hand or hand-me-downs, or given to you as a gift over the recent holidays and will become a recycle to your younger brother once you grow out of it.’
    • ‘Her lashing tail was half-spotted, half-striped; her clothes overly big and just a little worn and patchy, like hand-me-downs.’
    • ‘On this limited budget we opted for hand-me-downs and cloth diapers.’
    • ‘At the same time, family and friends with babies, social service agencies, non-profit groups, and support groups can be good sources of hand-me-downs, and can help you meet the needs of your babies.’
    • ‘Buying second-hand goods and accepting hand-me-downs work for me, too!’
    • ‘One boy is tanned and shiny from the water, but most of the rest have gangly, pale, mottled bodies; they are wearing baggy underwear or ill-fitting hand-me-downs.’
    • ‘While the others were given new clothes and shoes, she was dressed in ill-fitting hand-me-downs and old shoes.’
    • ‘The jeans you're wearing are hand-me-downs, they stopped making that style six and a half years ago, telling me that you either have an older sibling or some other close relative who's older than you.’
    • ‘The dinghies on our lake were serviceable, not showy: hand-me-downs with dented motors and countless coats of varnish.’
    • ‘I had a couple more shirts now - hand-me-downs from Ray and Johnny - but I still had the same four pairs of basketball shorts.’
    • ‘I didn't know at the time that my used textbooks were castoffs and that our science and athletic equipment represented the hand-me-downs from white schools in the district.’
    second-hand, used, nearly new, handed-down, passed-on, cast-off, worn, old, pre-owned
    View synonyms


  • [attributive] (of a garment or other item) passed on from another person.

    ‘he ran in the cold with no mittens and a hand-me-down coat’