Hand phrases #2

Dab hand — expert at a particular activity (1600s)

Underhanded — done in a secret or dishonest way; sneaky

Upper hand — power, control, dominance

In hand — under control; in reserve

At hand — nearby; imminent

On hand — immediately available; close by

Take in hand — to take control of or to lead 

Get out of hand — to become chaotic and unmanageable

Hands-on — learn by doing rather than studying theory

Hands off! — Don’t touch!

Hands up! — Surrender!

Hands down — without a doubt

Hand over — give or yield something

Before hand — ahead of time

Handmade — made by hand, not machine, and thus assumed to be superior

Handwork —  work done with the hands 

Handiwork — work (often creative) done by the hands

Ham-handed — clumsy, inept

Backhanded — meaning the opposite of what it seems to mean; sarcastic

Have to hand it to you — recognize your achievement

Hand — the cards held in a game such as bridge or poker

Sleight of hand — a cleverly executed trick or deception

Hand in glove — working very closely with someone

Lend a hand — help

Handsome — in the 1400s, this word meant “easy to handle”

Come in handy — be useful in a particular situation

Handy — close at hand, convenient, a person who can fix anything

Handy-dandy — convenient and useful; an old children’s game

After the last post, clever readers suggested a few more. Thank you, Licette, Linnéa, and Shandra! 

But I think I’m done with “hand,” so I now raise my tired hand in farewell! Unless, of course, someone hands me some new examples.

  One thought on “Hand phrases #2

  1. February 24, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    You’ve been busy tracking down all these hands!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leanne Taylor
    February 28, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    I have to hand it to you, Lea. You’re tenacious!
    I’d have washed my hands of this project – or put the kibosh on it –
    long ago.
    But you’re hands down a researcher extraordinaire.
    Show of hands?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 28, 2021 at 5:33 pm

      Congratulations! Two more that I missed: “washed my hands of” and “show of hands.” I’m not tenacious enough! Or maybe it’s just that hands are so handy.


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