hand phrases #1

The word “hand” is used in many different ways in the language, just as we use our hands, those useful body tools, in many different ways. Here are some phrases and proverbs:

All hands on deck — traditional nautical command for every sailor to report for duty; require everyone to work hard in order to achieve a particular aim  (1700s)

Bite the hand that feeds you — hurt someone who has been kind to you

The devil makes work for idle hands — people without enough work will do bad things

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush — don’t risk losing what you have by seeking more  (1400s)

Get your hands dirty — do physical work; do something dishonest 

Firsthand — seen or experienced for yourself

Secondhand — information reported by someone else; used goods

Force someone’s hand — compel to act against his or her will

Give a hand — help; applaud

Caught red-handed — discovered in the act of doing something wrong

On the one hand — introduces the first of two contrasting points

On the other hand — introduces the second of two contrasting points

Have a hand in — be involved with, have influence on

Get your hands on — obtain

Free hand — unrestricted freedom to action

Freehand — done without mechanical aids or devices

And that’s just the tip of the fingers! The second instalment will be posted in a few days.

  One thought on “hand phrases #1

  1. how9473
    February 21, 2021 at 7:06 am

    Well that’s handy dandy leaving me on a cliff edge for more of your handiwork! Just love reading these and reminding the old brain of all these wonderful words. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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