Definition of handwringing in US English:



  • 1The clasping together and squeezing of one's hands, especially when distressed or worried.

    • ‘There is no need for meetings, cover-ups, payoffs, or handwringing.’
    • ‘I'm agnostic on the subject, but the coverage of Richard Clark's promotion range from resigned sighs to outright handwringing.’
    • ‘‘Nobody knows what will happen’ is not an alternative to so-called nervous handwringing.’
    • ‘Anguished handwringing is one of the commonest, and most useless, rituals of Irish public life.’
    • ‘Finally, the handwringing once the exorbitant fee is revealed.’
    • ‘She needs a lot more rescuing than your handwringing and message-leaving and regretting will do.’
    1. 1.1 An excessive display of concern or distress.
      ‘his customary handwringing about the need for more local aid’
      • ‘No handwringing, no declaiming the end of Western civilization due to loose-moraled hipsters and free agent nation types swapping spit and job leads on the Internet.’
      • ‘Though I don't recall the details, I remember a similar wave of handwringing in the 80s (?) about violent movies and television.’
      • ‘That was nearly thirty years ago, and over the years the delusion that an unlimited license to commit an unspeakable evil can be disguised or excused by a display of moral handwringing has become ever less convincing to ever more Americans.’
      • ‘She has vigorously supported the prosecution and incarceration of the gangbangers without the slightest public display of hesitation, handwringing, or apology.’
      • ‘Right now, the argument that the war will have unforeseen and disastrous consequences may sound like handwringing, but it is doubtless true.’
      • ‘The handwringing in the press is so severe you can hear the bird-bones of these desiccated scribes cracking as they conjur up the next Horrible Scenario.’
      • ‘This is why we will see another swirling controversy around the Blown-Up Soccer Players commercial produced by the UN is going to lead to heads rolling and all sorts of handwringing.’
      • ‘There has been much pious handwringing from the Democrats about the fate of poor Valerie Plame, but we have to put this into non-partisan perspective.’
      • ‘This is the end of the handwringing over the site's future.’
      • ‘There is so much bleating and handwringing about Howard Dean being the nominee that I can't decide to laugh or vomit.’
      • ‘They have politely issued complaints, but they mostly have eschewed fingerpointing for handwringing.’
      • ‘As a card carrying neocon of the PNAC persuasion, he thinks that all this namby-pamby handwringing about poverty is rubbish.’
      • ‘There were months of handwringing and hankie clutching and ‘how will we ever sleep again knowing that political activity took place in the People's House!’’
      • ‘Throughout all the hullabaloo and spurious handwringing, the one constant was Booker, whose profits derived largely from the unglamorous cash-and-carry trade.’
      • ‘But despite the handwringing over professionalization, it's also notable how little the political blogosphere has changed.’
      • ‘You make a good point, Kitty, and that's what the administration is saying, that we've heard this before, this naysaying, this handwringing.’
      • ‘The only reason we made it through the handwringing of 2003 and 2004 was because the engineer had nerve.’
      • ‘I don't know if the tactic succeeded, but I don't believe it hurt the greater cause any, despite the handwringing about its ‘intemperence.’’
      • ‘There has been a vast amount of handwringing about the Hutton report on the BBC, including by some of our own fine writers, who seem to feel that the report is somehow a threat to the independence of the BBC.’
      • ‘Rather, the trial was always about how the West saw itself in international affairs - and thus the death of Milosevic has become an occasion for handwringing about the West's role today.’