Definition of hand noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    jump to other results
    part of body
  1. 1[countable] the part of the body at the end of the arm, including the fingers and thumb I placed a hand on her shoulder. Put your hand up if you know the answer. Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times. She was on (her) hands and knees (= crawling on the floor) looking for an earring. Couples strolled past holding hands. Give me your hand (= hold my hand) while we cross the road. The crowd threw up their hands (= lifted them into the air) in dismay. He killed the snake with his bare hands (= using only his hands). a hand towel (= a small towel for drying your hands on) a hand drill (= one that is used by turning a handle rather than powered by electricity) Topic CollocationsPhysical AppearanceA person may be described as having:eyes (bright) blue/green/(dark/light) brown/hazel eyes deep-set/sunken/bulging/protruding eyes small/beady/sparkling/twinkling/shifty eyes piercing/penetrating/steely eyes bloodshot/watery/puffy eyes bushy/thick/dark/raised/arched eyebrows long/dark/thick/curly/false eyelashes/lashesface a flat/bulbous/pointed/sharp/snub nose a straight/a pointy/a Roman/an aquiline nose full/thick/thin/pouty lips dry/chapped/cracked lips flushed/rosy/red/ruddy/pale cheeks soft/chubby/sunken cheeks white/perfect/crooked/protruding teeth a large/high/broad/wide forehead a strong/weak/pointed/double chin a long/full/bushy/wispy beard a full/thin goatee a long/thin/bushy/droopy/handlebar/pencil mustachehair and skin pale/fair/olive/dark/tanned skin dry/oily/smooth/rough/leathery/wrinkled skin a dark/pale/light/sallow/ruddy/olive/swarthy/clear complexion deep/fine/small/facial wrinkles blonde/blond/fair/(light/dark) brown/(jet-)black/auburn/red/ginger/gray hair straight/curly/wavy/frizzy/spiky hair thick/thin/fine/bushy/thinning hair dyed/bleached/soft/silky/dry/greasy/shiny hair long/short/shoulder-length/cropped hair a bald/balding/shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/spot a side/center partbody a long/short/thick/slender/ (disapproving) scrawny neck broad/narrow/sloping/rounded/hunched shoulders a bare/broad/muscular/small/large chest a flat/round/swollen/bulging stomach a small/tiny/narrow/slim/slender/28-inch waist big/wide/narrow/slim hips a straight/bent/arched/broad/hairy back thin/slender/muscular arms big/large/small/manicured/calloused/gloved hands long/short/fat/slender/delicate/bony fingers long/muscular/hairy/shapely/ (informal) (often disapproving) skinny/spindly legs muscular/chubby/ (informal) (disapproving) flabby thighs/calves big/little/small/dainty/wide/narrow/bare feet a good/slim/slender/hourglass figure be of slim/medium/average/large/athletic/stocky build see also left-hand, right-hand
  2. -handed
  3. 2(in adjectives) using the hand or number of hands mentioned a one-handed catch left-handed scissors (= intended to be held in your left hand)
  4. help
  5. 3a hand [singular] (informal) help in doing something Let me give you a hand with those bags (= help you to carry them). Do you need a hand with those invoices? The neighbors are always willing to lend a hand.
  6. role in situation
  7. 4 [singular] hand in something the part or role that someone or something plays in a particular situation; someone's influence in a situation Early reports suggest the hand of rebel forces in the bombings. Several of his colleagues had a hand in his downfall. This appointment was an attempt to strengthen her hand in policy discussions.
  8. on clock/watch
  9. 5 [countable] (usually in compounds) a part of a clock or watch that points to the numbers see also hour hand, minute hand, second hand
  10. worker
  11. 6 [countable] a person who does physical work on a farm or in a factory see also farmhand, hired hand, stagehand
  12. sailor
  13. 7[countable] a sailor on a ship All hands on deck! see also deckhand
  14. hand-
  15. 8(in compounds) by a person rather than a machine hand-painted pottery hand-knitted This item should be hand washed. see also handmade
  16. in card games
  17. 9 [countable] a set of playing cards given to one player in a game to be dealt a good/bad hand
  18. 10[countable] one stage of a game of cards I'll have to leave after this hand.
  19. writing
  20. 11[singular] (old use) a particular style of writing see also freehand
  21. measurement for horse
  22. 12[countable] a unit for measuring the height of a horse, equal to 4 inches or 10.16 centimeters see also old hand, secondhand, sleight of hand, underhand
  23. Vocabulary Buildingusing your handstouchThese verbs describe different ways of touching things: brushShe brushed the silk with her fingertips. feelI felt the bag to see what was in it. handleHandle the fruit with care. patHe patted my arm and told me not to worry. petThe dog loves being petted. rubShe rubbed her eyes wearily. squeezeI took his hand and squeezed it. strokeHe stroked her hair lovingly. tapSomeone was tapping lightly at the door.holdYou can use these verbs to describe taking something quickly: grabI grabbed his arm to keep myself from falling. snatchShe snatched the letter out of my hand.These verbs describe holding things tightly: claspHer hands were clasped behind her head. clutchThe child was clutching a doll in her hand. graspGrasp the rope with both hands and pull. gripHe gripped the bag tightly and wouldn’t let go.Idioms
    all hands on deck(saying)(humorous)
    jump to other results
    everyone helps or must help, especially in a difficult situation There are 30 people coming to dinner tonight, so it's all hands on deck.
    (close/near) at hand
    jump to other results
    close to you in time or distance Help was at hand. The property is ideally located with all local amenities close at hand.
    at the hands of somebody,at somebody's hands(formal)
    jump to other results
    if you experience something at the hands of someone, they are the cause of it They suffered years of repression at the hands of the old regime.
    be good with your hands
    jump to other results
    to be skillful at making or doing things with your hands
      bind/tie somebody hand and foot
      jump to other results
    1. 1to tie someone's hands and feet together so that they cannot move or escape
    2. 2to prevent someone from doing what they want by creating rules, restrictions, etc.
    1. 1by a person rather than a machine The fabric was painted by hand.
    2. 2 if a letter is delivered by hand, it is delivered by the person who wrote it, or someone who is sent by them, rather than by mail
    fall into somebody's hands/the hands of somebody(formal)
    jump to other results
    to become controlled by someone The town fell into enemy hands. We don't want this document falling into the wrong hands. After the war, the hotel fell into the hands of an American consortium.
    (at) first hand
    jump to other results
    by experiencing, seeing, etc. something yourself rather than being told about it by someone else The President visited the area to see the devastation at first hand.
    get your hands dirty(also dirty your hands)
    jump to other results
    to do physical or difficult work He's not frightened of getting his hands dirty.
    go hat in hand (to somebody)
    jump to other results
    to ask someone for something, especially money, in a very polite way that makes you seem less important There's no way he'll go hat in hand to his brother.
    somebody's hand (in marriage)(old-fashioned)
    jump to other results
    permission to marry someone, especially a woman He asked the general for his daughter's hand in marriage.
    hand in glove (with somebody)
    jump to other results
    working closely with someone, especially in a secret and/or illegal way
      hand in hand
      jump to other results
    1. 1if two people are hand in hand, they are holding each other's hand They walked through the park hand in hand.
    2. 2if two things go hand in hand, they are closely connected and one thing causes the other Poverty and poor health often go hand in hand.
    hands down(informal)
    jump to other results
    easily and without any doubt They won hands down. It is hands down the best movie this year. see also hands-down
    (get/take your) hands off (something/somebody)(informal)
    jump to other results
    used to tell someone not to touch something or someone Get your hands off her! Hey, hands off! That's my drink!
      hands up!(informal)
      jump to other results
    1. 1used to tell a group of people to raise one hand in the air if they know the answer to a question, etc. Hands up all those who want to go swimming.
    2. 2used by someone who is threatening people with a gun to tell them to raise both hands in the air
    have your hands full
    jump to other results
    to be very busy or too busy to do something else She certainly has her hands full with four kids in the house.
    have your hands tied
    jump to other results
    to be unable to do what you want to do because of rules, promises, etc. I really wish I could help but my hands are tied.
    hold somebody's hand
    jump to other results
    to give someone support in a difficult situation Do you want me to come along and hold your hand?
    in somebody's capable, safe, etc. hands
    jump to other results
    being taken care of or dealt with by someone that you think you can rely on Can I leave these queries in your capable hands?
    1. 1 if you have money in hand, it is left and available to be used We managed to redecorate the house and still have some savings in hand.
    2. 2if you have a particular situation in hand, you are in control of it Don't worry about the travel arrangements—everything is in hand.
    3. 3 the job, question, etc. in hand is the one that you are dealing with Please confine your comments to the topic in hand.
    in the hands of somebody,in somebody's hands
    jump to other results
     being taken care of or controlled by someone The matter is now in the hands of my lawyer. At that time, the castle was in enemy hands.
    keep your hand in
    jump to other results
    to occasionally do something that you used to do a lot so that you do not lose your skill at it She retired last year but still teaches the odd class to keep her hand in.
    lay/get your hands on somebody
    jump to other results
    to catch someone that you are annoyed with Wait till I get my hands on him!
    lay/get your hands on something
    jump to other results
    to find or get something I know their address is here somewhere, but I can't lay my hands on it right now. Do you know where I can get my hands on a secondhand television?
    many hands make light work(saying)
    jump to other results
    used to say that a job is made easier if a lot of people help
    off your hands
    jump to other results
    no longer your responsibility
    on either/every hand(literary)
    jump to other results
    on both/all sides; in both/all directions Mist curled from the water on either hand.
    available, especially to help The emergency services were on hand with medical advice.
    on your hands
    jump to other results
    if you have someone or something on your hands, you are responsible for them or it Let me take care of the invitations—you've enough on your hands with the caterers. They'll have a fight on their hands if they want to close down the school.
    on the one hand… on the other (hand)…
    jump to other results
    used to introduce different points of view, ideas, etc., especially when they are opposites On the one hand they'd love to have kids, but on the other, they don't want to give up their freedom. Language Bankcontrasthighlighting differences This survey highlights a number of differences in the way that teenage boys and girls in the U.S. spend their free time. One of the main differences between the girls and the boys who took part in the research was the way in which they use the Internet. Unlike the girls, who use the Internet mainly to keep in touch with friends, the boys questioned in this survey tend to use the Internet for playing computer games. The girls differ from the boys in that they tend to spend more time keeping in touch with friends on the telephone or on social networking websites. Compared with the boys, the girls spend much more time chatting to friends on the telephone. On average, the girls spend four hours a week chatting to friends on the phone. In contrast, very few of the boys spend more than five minutes a day talking to their friends in this way. The boys prefer competitive sports and computer games, whereas/while the girls seem to enjoy more cooperative activities, such as shopping with friends. When the girls go shopping, they mainly buy clothes and cosmetics. The boys, on the other hand, tend to purchase computer games or gadgets.
      out of hand
      jump to other results
    1. 1difficult or impossible to control Unemployment is getting out of hand.
    2. 2if you reject, etc. something out of hand, you do so immediately without thinking about it fully or listening to other people's arguments All our suggestions were dismissed out of hand.
    out of your hands
    jump to other results
    no longer your responsibility I'm afraid the matter is now out of my hands.
    play into somebody's hands
    jump to other results
    to do exactly what an enemy, opponent, etc. wants so that they gain the advantage in a particular situation If we get the police involved, we'll be playing right into the protesters' hands.
    (at) second, third, etc. hand
    jump to other results
    by being told about something by someone else who has seen it or heard about it, not by experiencing, seeing, etc. it yourself I'm tired of hearing about these decisions third hand!
    take somebody in hand
    jump to other results
    to deal with someone in a strict way in order to improve their behavior
    take something into your own hands
    jump to other results
    to deal with a particular situation yourself because you are not happy with the way that others are dealing with it
    throw your hand in(informal)
    jump to other results
    to stop doing something or taking part in something, especially because you are not successful
    that you can reach or get easily I'm afraid I don't have the latest figures to hand. Keep a pen and paper to hand for details of this week's competition.
    turn your hand to something
    jump to other results
    to start doing something or be able to do something, especially when you do it well Jim can turn his hand to most jobs around the house.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: hand