• (firearms) The small part of a gunstock near the lock, which is grasped by the hand in taking aim.
  • (chiefly in measuring the height of horses) Four inches, a hand's breadth.
  • (archaic) Actual performance; deed; act; workmanship; agency; hence, manner of performance.
  • Power of performance; means of execution; ability; skill; dexterity.
  • Handwriting; style of penmanship.

    "a good hand"

  • (usually in the plural, hands) Management, domain, control.

    "in safe hands;  in good hands;  He lost his job when the factory changed hands.  With the business back in the founder's hands, there is new hope for the company.  With John in charge of the project, it's in good hands."

  • (tobacco manufacturing) A bundle of tobacco leaves tied together.
  • (heading) That which resembles, or to some extent performs the office of, a human hand.
  • (historical) A Native American gambling game, involving guessing the whereabouts of bits of ivory or similar, which are passed rapidly from hand to hand.
  • (heading) In linear measurement:
  • The feel of a fabric; the impression or quality of the fabric as judged qualitatively by the sense of touch.

    "This fabric has a smooth, soft hand."

  • A side; part, camp; direction, either right or left.
  • (obsolete) Rate; price.
  • An instance of helping.

    "Bob gave Alice a hand to move the furniture."

  • Personal possession; ownership.
  • (gaming, chiefly card games) The set of cards held by a player.
  • The part of the fore limb below the forearm or wrist in a human, and the corresponding part in many other animals.

    "Her hands are really strong."

  • Applause.

    "Give him a hand."

  • An index or pointer on a dial; such as the hour and minute hands on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day.
  • A whole rhizome of ginger.
  • (obsolete) Three inches.
  • (archaic) Agency in transmission from one person to another.

    "to buy at first hand (from the producer, or when new);  to buy at second hand (when no longer in the producer’s hand, or when not new);  It's not a rumor. I heard it at first hand."

  • 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.

    "an old hand at speaking;  large farms need many farm hands"

  • A person's signature.

    "Given under my Hand and Seal of the State this 1st Day of January, 2010."

  • (heading) That which is, or may be, held in a hand at once.
  • The collective noun for a bunch of bananas.
  • A limb of certain animals, as the foot of a hawk, or any one of the four extremities of a monkey.


  • (transitive) To give, pass, or transmit with the hand, literally or figuratively.

    "He handed them the letter."

  • (transitive, obsolete) To seize; to lay hands on.
  • (intransitive, obsolete) To cooperate.
  • (transitive, obsolete) To manage.
  • (transitive, nautical, said of a sail) To furl.
  • (transitive) To lead, guide, or assist with the hand; to conduct.

    "to hand a lady into a carriage"

  • (transitive, rare) To pledge by the hand; to handfast.

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