hand  ( hands plural ) (NOUN USES AND PHRASES)
Please look at category 49 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.
1 n-count Your hands are the parts of your body at the end of your arms. Each hand has four fingers and a thumb.
I put my hand into my pocket and pulled out the letter..., Sylvia, camera in hand, asked, `Where do we go first?'
2 n-sing The hand of someone or something is their influence in an event or situation.
The hand of the military authorities can be seen in the entire electoral process...
3 n-plural If you say that something is in a particular person's hands, you mean that they are looking after it, own it, or are responsible for it.
usu in/into N
He is leaving his north London business in the hands of a colleague..., We're in safe hands...
4 n-sing If you ask someone for a hand with something, you are asking them to help you in what you are doing.
a N, oft N with n
Come and give me a hand in the garden...
5 n-count A hand is someone, usually a man, who does hard physical work, for example in a factory or on a farm, as part of a group of people who all do similar work.
usu with supp
He now works as a farm hand...
6 n-sing If someone asks an audience to give someone a hand, they are asking the audience to clap loudly, usually before or after that person performs.
Let's give 'em a big hand.
7 n-count If a man asks for a woman's handin marriage, he asks her or her parents for permission to marry her.
OLD-FASHIONED usu sing, poss N, oft N in n
He came to ask Usha's father for her hand in marriage.
8 n-count In a game of cards, your hand is the set of cards that you are holding in your hand at a particular time or the cards that are dealt to you at the beginning of the game.
He carefully inspected his hand.
9 n-count A hand is a measurement of four inches, which is used for measuring the height of a horse from its front feet to its shoulders.
usu num N
I had a very good 14.2 hands pony, called Brandy.
10 n-count The hands of a clock or watch are the thin pieces of metal or plastic that indicate what time it is.
11 If something is at hand, near at hand, or close at hand, it is very near in place or time.
at hand phrase PHR after v, v-link PHR
Having the right equipment at hand will be enormously helpful...
12 If someone experiences a particular kind of treatment, especially unpleasant treatment, at the hands of a person or organization, they receive it from them.
at the hands of prep-phrase PREP n
The civilian population were suffering greatly at the hands of the security forces.
13 If you do something by hand, you do it using your hands rather than a machine.
by hand phrase PHR after v
Each pleat was stitched in place by hand.
14 When something changes hands, its ownership changes, usually because it is sold to someone else.
change hands phrase V inflects
The firm has changed hands many times over the years.
15 If you have someone eating out of your hand, they are completely under your control.
eat out of sb's hand phrase V and N inflect
Parker could have customers eating out of his hand.
16 If you force someone's hand, you force them to act sooner than they want to, or to act in public when they would prefer to keep their actions secret.
force sb's hand phrase V and N inflect
He blamed the press for forcing his hand.
17 If you have your hands fullwith something, you are very busy because of it.
have one's hands full phrase V inflects, oft PHR with n
She had her hands full with new arrivals.
18 If someone gives you a free hand, they give you the freedom to use your own judgment and to do exactly as you wish.
a free hand phrase PHR after v
He gave Stephanie a free hand in the decoration.
19 If you get your hands on something or lay your hands on something, you manage to find it or obtain it, usually after some difficulty.
get one's hands on sth/lay one's hands on sth phrase V inflects, PHR n
Patty began reading everything she could get her hands on.
20 If you work hand in glovewith someone, you work very closely with them.
hand in glove phrase usu PHR with n
The UN inspectors work hand in glove with the Western intelligence agencies.
21 If two people are hand in hand, they are holding each other's nearest hand, usually while they are walking or sitting together. People often do this to show their affection for each other.
hand in hand phrase usu PHR after v, PHR with cl
I saw them making their way, hand in hand, down the path.
22 If two things gohand in hand, they are closely connected and cannot be considered separately from each other.
hand in hand phrase usu PHR after v, v-link PHR, oft PHR with n
For us, research and teaching go hand in hand...
23 If you have a hand in something such as an event or activity, you are involved in it.
have a hand in sth phrase V inflects, PHR n
He thanked all who had a hand in his release.
24 If you say that someone such as the ruler of a country treats people with a heavy hand, you are criticizing them because they are very strict and severe with them.
heavy hand phrase usu with PHR (disapproval)
Henry and Richard both ruled with a heavy hand.
25 If two people are holding hands, they are holding each other's nearest hand, usually while they are walking or sitting together. People often do this to show their affection for each other.
hold hands phrase V inflects, pl-n PHR, PHR with n
She approached a young couple holding hands on a bench.
26 If you ask someone to hold your hand at an event that you are worried about, you ask them to support you by being there with you.
hold sb's hand phrase V and N inflect
I don't need anyone to hold my hand.
27 In a competition, if someone has games or matches in hand, they have more games or matches left to play than their opponent and therefore have the possibility of scoring more points.
in hand phrase n PHR
Wales are three points behind Romania in the group but have a game in hand.
28 If you have time or money in hand, you have more time or money than you need.
in hand phrase usu with amount PHR
Hughes finished with 15 seconds in hand.
29 The job or problem in hand is the job or problem that you are dealing with at the moment.
in hand phrase n PHR, v-link PHR
The business in hand was approaching some kind of climax.
30 If a situation is in hand, it is under control.
in hand phrase v-link PHR, PHR after v
The Olympic organisers say that matters are well in hand.
31 If you lend someone a hand, you help them.
lend sb a hand phrase V inflects
I'd be glad to lend a hand.
32 If you tell someone to keep their hands off something or to take their hands off it, you are telling them in a rather aggressive way not to touch it or interfere with it.
keep one's hands off sth/take one's hands off sth phrase V inflects, PHR n
Keep your hands off my milk.
33 If you do not know something off hand, you do not know it without having to ask someone else or look it up in a book.
off hand phrase usu with brd-neg, PHR after v
I can't think of any off hand.
34 If you have a problem or responsibility on your hands, you have to deal with it. If it is off your hands, you no longer have to deal with it.
on one's hands/off one's hands phrase PHR after v
They now have yet another drug problem on their hands..., She would like the worry of dealing with her affairs taken off her hands.
35 If someone or something is on hand, they are near and able to be used if they are needed.
on hand phrase PHR after v, v-link PHR
The Bridal Department will have experts on hand to give you all the help and advice you need...
36 You use on the one hand to introduce the first of two contrasting points, facts, or ways of looking at something. It is always followed later by on the other hand or `on the other'.
on the one hand phrase PHR with cl
On the one hand, if the body doesn't have enough cholesterol, we would not be able to survive. On the other hand, if the body has too much cholesterol, the excess begins to line the arteries.
37 You use on the other hand to introduce the second of two contrasting points, facts, or ways of looking at something.
on the other hand phrase
Well, all right, hospitals lose money. But, on the other hand, if people are healthy, don't think of it as losing money; think of it as saving lives.
38 If a person or a situation gets out of hand, you are no longer able to control them.
out of hand phrase v-link PHR
His drinking had got out of hand.
39 If you dismiss or reject something out of hand, you do so immediately and do not consider believing or accepting it.
out of hand phrase PHR after v
I initially dismissed the idea out of hand.
40 If you play into someone's hands, you do something which they want you to do and which places you in their power. (JOURNALISM)
play into sb's hands phrase V inflects
He is playing into the hands of racists.
41 If you show your hand, you show how much power you have and the way you intend to act.
show one's hand phrase V and N inflect
He has grown more serious about running for president, although he refuses to show his hand.
42 If you take something or someone in hand, you take control or responsibility over them, especially in order to improve them.
take sb/sth in hand phrase V inflects
I hope that Parliament will soon take the NHS in hand...
43 If you say that your hands are tied, you mean that something is preventing you from acting in the way that you want to.
hands are tied phrase V inflects
Politicians are always saying that they want to help us but their hands are tied...
44 If you have something to hand or near to hand, you have it with you or near you, ready to use when needed.
to hand phrase PHR after v, v-link PHR
You may want to keep this brochure safe, so you have it to hand whenever you may need it.
45 If you try your handat an activity, you attempt to do it, usually for the first time.
try your hand phrase V and N inflect, usu PHR at n/-ing
After he left school, he tried his hand at a variety of jobs<endash>bricklayer, cinema usher, coal man.
46 If you turn your hand to something such as a practical activity, you learn about it and do it for the first time.
turn one's hand to sth phrase V and N inflect, PHR n
...a person who can turn his hand to anything.
47 If you wash your hands of someone or something, you refuse to be involved with them any more or to take responsibility for them.
wash one's hands of sb/sth phrase V inflects, PHR n
He seems to have washed his hands of the job.
48 If you win hands down, you win very easily.
win hands down phrase V inflects
with one's bare hands
to overplay one's hand
to shake someone's hand
to shake hands