Definition of on someone's hands in US English:

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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They have a huge job on their hands but they will look more closely at the anomalies.’
    • ‘The analysts said Thomson had a very difficult job on his hands.’
    • ‘Allardyce admits Wanderers will have a tough job on their hands tomorrow.’
    • ‘They all clearly know that they have quite a job on their hands, because there have been so many versions.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Used to indicate that someone is to blame for something.
      ‘he has my son's blood on his hands’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Blood will be on your hands either way - it just depends on how much blood is on your hands now compared to later…’
      • ‘There was one British reporter who yelled, ‘You have blood on your hands, Prime Minister.’’
      • ‘And then the cameras panned high up to the gallery where two young women were standing, one holding a ‘Blood on your hands ' banner.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Prime minister, have you got blood on your hands?’
      • ‘Oh, ACLU, don't you have enough blood on your hands?’
    2. 1.2 At someone's disposal.
      ‘since I retired I've had more time on my hands’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Combine that with a product perfectly suited to e-commerce and you have a great opportunity on your hands."’
      • ‘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'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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’