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definition of the word hand

by the Wiktionnary

Rank of this word in the English language, from analyzing texts from Project Gutenberg.
though get eyes #151: hand young place give
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Old English hand. Cognate with Dutch hand, German Hand, Swedish hand.



hand (plural hands)

  1. That part of the fore limb below the forearm or wrist in a human, and the corresponding part in many other animals; manus; paw. See manus.
  2. That which resembles, or to some extent performs the office of, a human hand; as,
    (a) A limb of certain animals, as the foot of a hawk, or any one of the four extremities of a monkey.
    (b) An index or pointer on a dial; such as the hour or minute hand of a clock
  3. In long measure, two different lengths:
    • (obsolete) Three inches, not to be confused with; and,
    • Four inches, a hand’s breadth, used in measuring the height of horses.
  4. A side; part, camp; direction, either right or left.
    • On this hand and that hand, were hangings. — Exodus 38:15
    • The Protestants were then on the winning handMilton
  5. Power of performance; means of execution; ability; skill; dexterity.
    • He had a great mind to try his hand at a Spectator. — Addison
  6. (archaic) Actual performance; deed; act; workmanship; agency; hence, manner of performance.
    • To change the hand in carrying on the war. — Clarendon
    • Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by my hand. — Judges 6:36
  7. An agent; a servant, or manual laborer, especially in compounds; a workman, trained or competent for special service or duty; a performer more or less skillful; as,
    an old hand at speaking.
    • A dictionary containing a natural history requires too many hands, as well as too much time, ever to be hoped for. — Locke
    • I was always reckoned a lively hand at a simile. — Hazlitt
  8. Handwriting; style of penmanship; as,
    A good, bad or running hand. Hence, a signature.
    • I say she never did invent this letter; This is a man’s invention and his hand — Shakespeare, As You Like It, IV-iii
    • Some writs require a judge’s handBurril
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      I found written on the other side, in a very good, clear hand, this short message...
  9. Personal possession; ownership; hence, control; direction; management; — usually in the plural.
    • Receiving in hand one year’s tribute. — Knolles
    • Milton, Albinus
      ...found means to keep in his hands the government of Britain.
  10. That which is, or may be, held in a hand at once; as
    (a) (gaming, especially card games): The set of cards held by a player.
    (b) (Tobacco Manufacturing): A bundle of tobacco leaves tied together.
  11. Applause.
    Give him a hand.
  12. Agency in transmission from one person to another; as,
    to buy at first hand, that is, from the producer, or when new; at second hand, that is, when no longer in the producer’s hand, or when not new.
  13. (obsolete) Rate; price.
    • Business is bought at a dear hand, where there is small dispatch. — Bacon
  14. Each of the pointers on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day.
  15. (firearms) The small part of a gunstock near the lock, which is grasped by the hand in taking aim.
  16. The collective noun for a bunch of bananas.

Hand is used figuratively for a large variety of acts or things, in the doing, or making, or use of which the hand is in some way employed or concerned; also, as a symbol to denote various qualities or conditions, as,

(a) Activity; operation; work; — in distinction from the head, which implies thought, and the heart, which implies affection.
His hand will be against every man. — Genesis 16:12
(b) Power; might; supremacy; — often in the Scriptures.
With a mighty hand . . . will I rule over you. — Ezekiel 20:33.
(c) Fraternal feeling; as, to give, or take, the hand; to give the right hand
(d) Contract; — commonly of marriage; as, to ask the hand; to pledge the hand.

Definition from Wiktionary
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