Definition of single-handed in English:


(also singlehanded)

adjective & adverb

  • 1Done without help from anyone else.

    [as adverb] ‘sailing single-handed around the world’
    [as adjective] ‘a single-handed crusade’
    • ‘It was only when I was about 17 that I realised that all the books I had were about single-handed sailing.’
    • ‘And since the late 1990s, she seems to have been pursuing a single-handed crusade to save the diva from extinction.’
    • ‘At the same time it would be apt to remember and raise a glass to previous world-rounders who have achieved the same single-handed feat, albeit slower, without the daily security of satellite navigation systems.’
    • ‘How can he possibly fend for himself at all, let alone manage quite literally single-handed for 30 years?’
    • ‘She is portrayed as a single-handed crusader in the fight against drugs.’
    • ‘Most notable of all, he has, almost single-handed, tamed the once all-powerful military and established civilian supremacy in the government.’
    • ‘They could not believe that any sane man would take on a multinational corporation almost single-handed, let alone succeed?’
    • ‘It was the single-handed effort of this man which took Kathaprasangam, which once was a prominent part of the temple festival itinerary, to the mainstream of Kerala culture.’
    • ‘Out of the current five yacht races that circumnavigate the globe, only Around Alone and the non-stop Vendee Globe are single-handed.’
    • ‘Her almost single-handed campaign to remind Penang's 1.2 million dwellers of their unique architectural heritage has resulted in her fascinating book ‘Streets of George Town’.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the Lib Dems will take single-handed control of the council's all-powerful executive after Labour and Tories rejected a power-sharing offer.’
    • ‘Her own mother, bringing two children up single-handed after the war after her second husband was killed in the fighting, had a ‘rotten, rough time’.’
    • ‘He handed in several references praising her as a mother and a person, and said she had been taking medication since last summer for depression caused by the strain of bringing up her children single-handed.’
    • ‘The defining image of the movie showed actor Gary Lewis struggling under the weight of his beloved ma's coffin which he tries to carry single-handed from the hearse to the grave.’
    • ‘The 16-year-old was told on his arrival that despite being the youngest person to sail the Atlantic single-handed, he would have to work hard to catch up on school work.’
    • ‘He has had plenty of time to prepare it and has won two races in it, including the Transat, the gruelling 2,800-mile single-handed transatlantic race, during the summer.’
    • ‘At just 27 she has already been hailed as a sporting legend having pitted herself against the elements to become the fastest Briton ever to sail single-handed around the globe in the famous Vendee Globe challenge.’
    • ‘The authors said concern about single-handed doctors had long been expressed but ‘we have found no evidence in this study that single-handed general practitioners are under-performing clinically’.’
    • ‘Commenting on the honour, he said: ‘This has not been done single-handed.’’
    • ‘I left with no doubt in my mind at all that this was a man who, single-handed, changed the course of popular music forever.’
    by oneself, alone, on one's own, solo, unaided, unassisted, without help, by one's own efforts, independently
    under one's own steam
    by oneself, alone, on one's own, solo, unaided, unassisted, without help, by one's own efforts, independently
    View synonyms
  • 2Done or designed to be used with one hand.

    [as adverb] ‘the tool is easy to use single-handed’
    [as adjective] ‘a single-handed ax’
    • ‘Carrying it across the room, he opened the window single-handed (easier said then done).’
    • ‘The 23-year-old from San Diego, California, has struggled to hit those heights since, but her single-handed backhand is regarded among her peers as one of the best in women's tennis.’
    • ‘But he was offered a job back at his old firm and gradually learnt how to use adaptive technologies such as single-handed keyboards, tracking balls and IBM's voice-recognition software.’
    • ‘The code will recommend practices such as a maximum breaking strain of line, hook size of no more than 14, and the use of a single-handed rod.’
    • ‘She still generates enormous force, but what is most attractive about her game is the subtly of stroke, particularly that classical single-handed backhand.’