handful

Definitions

  • Hand Shingle-Machine
    Hand Shingle-Machine
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n handful the quantity that can be held in the hand
    • n handful a small number or amount "only a handful of responses were received"
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Additional illustrations & photos:

A STRONG HAND SEIZED ME A STRONG HAND SEIZED ME
THE GRIP WITH THE LEFT HAND THE GRIP WITH THE LEFT HAND
Hand Dragons Hand Dragons
Warm Hands music Warm Hands music
KNOCKING A STYLOGRAPHIC PEN OUT OF BURGOYNE'S HAND KNOCKING A STYLOGRAPHIC PEN OUT OF BURGOYNE'S HAND
Maia and the fairy hold hands Maia and the fairy hold hands
THE WITHERED HAND THE WITHERED HAND
The Fisherman Put His Hand into the Net The Fisherman Put His Hand into the Net

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were the two left-handed Beatles.
    • handful A hand's breadth; four inches. "Knap the tongs together about a handful from the bottom."
    • handful A person, task, or situation, which is the most that one can manage; as, my two-year-old is a handful . "They had their handful to defend themselves from firing."
    • handful A small quantity or number. "This handful of men were tied to very hard duty."
    • handful As much as the hand will grasp or contain.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The left testicle usually hangs lower than the right for right-handed men. The opposite is true for lefties.
    • n handful As much as the hand can grasp or contain.
    • n handful A unit of length equal to four inches; a hand.
    • n handful A small quantity or number; a little.
    • n handful As much as one can hold or manage; full employment.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Two thirds of all left-handed people are men.
    • ns Handful as much as fills the hand: a small number or quantity:—pl. Hand′fuls
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Quotations

  • Ezra Pound
    Ezra%20Pound
    “With one day's reading a man may have the key in his hands.”
  • Voltaire
    Voltaire
    “The Pope is an idol whose hands are tied and whose feet are kissed.”
  • William Shakespeare
    William%20Shakespeare
    “Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.”
  • Charles A. Lindbergh
    Charles A. Lindbergh
    “Is he alone who has courage on his right hand and faith on his left hand?”
  • David Summers
    David Summers
    “Bravery and stupidity go hand in hand.”
  • Francis Picabia
    Francis%20Picabia
    “Between my head and my hand, there is always the face of death.”

Idioms

Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades - (USA) Used in response to someone saying "almost" in a win/lose situation. The full expression is "Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." An alternate form puts "and flinging shit from a shovel" at the end.
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Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush - 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is a proverb meaning that it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more, where you might lose everything.
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Catch someone red-handed - If someone is caught red-handed, they are found doing something wrong or illegal.
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Caught with your hand in the cookie jar - (USA) If someone is caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar, he or she is caught doing something wrong.
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Clean hands - Someone with clean hands, or who keeps their hands clean, is not involved in illegal or immoral activities.
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Close at hand - If something is close at hand, it is nearby or conveniently located.
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Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades - This phrase is used to say that if you come close to success without succeeding, it is not good enough
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Devil finds work for idle hands - When people say that the devil finds work for idle hands, they mean that if people don't have anything to do with their time, they are more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality.
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Don't bite the hand that feeds - When someone says this to you, they are trying to tell you not to act against those on whom you depend.
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Get your hands dirty - If you get your hands dirty, you become involved in something where the realities might compromise your principles. It can also mean that a person is not just stuck in an ivory tower dictating strategy, but is prepared to put in the effort and hard work to make the details actually happen.
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Give a big hand - Applaud by clapping hands. 'Let's give all the contestents a big hand.'
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Give me a hand - If someone gives you a hand, they help you.
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Go hand in hand - If things go hand in hand, they are associated and go together.
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Good hand - If you are a good hand at something, you do it well.
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Hand in glove - If people are hand in glove, they have an extremely close relationship.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. handfull,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. hand; in all Teut. tongues, perh. rel. to Goth. hinthan, to seize.

Usage

In literature:

A hand was clutching my windpipe.
"Romance" by Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
He took the flower from his teeth, handed it to her, then took her hand, kissed it, bent his forehead quite low, and pressed her hand against it.
"Bella Donna" by Robert Hichens
They walked hand in hand.
"The Black Douglas" by S. R. Crockett
His hands were unnaturally thin, and in his face still hovered the shadows of sickness and of mental suffering.
"The Courage of Marge O'Doone" by James Oliver Curwood
Hand over hand, feeling his way like a cat, he advanced toward the prostrate figure.
"Ben Blair" by Will Lillibridge
Majendie felt Peggy's hand tighten on his hand.
"The Helpmate" by May Sinclair
Granville extended one rough, brown, boyish hand over the fence, and Ellen laid her little, soft hand in it.
"The Portion of Labor" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
She proffered her hand impulsively, her eyes dancing.
"The Swindler and Other Stories" by Ethel M. Dell
And his two big hands flew out, seeking her shoulders.
"Judith of Blue Lake Ranch" by Jackson Gregory
Fouquet pressed Aramis' hand; but, instead of the deed which Vanel handed to him, he took the rough draft of it.
"The Vicomte de Bragelonne" by Alexandre Dumas
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In poetry:

"I kiss thy hands, I kiss thy feet,
My child, so long desired;
Thy hands will never be soiled, my sweet;
Thy feet will never be tired."
"A Christmas Carol" by George MacDonald
I weep, and yet I know not why,
For joy is hand in hand with pain;
Perchance it is to think how dry
Our hearts remain for all such rain.
"Summer Invocation" by Alexander Anderson
The little hands that never sought
Earth's prizes, worthless all as sands,
What gift has death, God's servant, brought
The little hands?
"A Baby's Death" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
What care I, so that hand in hand,
And heart in heart we pace the shore?
My heart desireth nothing more,
We understand,—we understand.
"Ralph to Mary" by Amy Levy
You'll give him your virgin hand, maiden,
And become a wedded wife;
That hand will mingle "honey for two"
To sweeten the bitter of life.
"Lines For The Bridal" by Nora Pembroke
Stitches to show something's missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand
"The Applicant" by Sylvia Plath

In news:

NSF International announced a new protocol that provides for evaluation and testing of commercial hand dryers to certify that they dry hands hygienically.
When we ran into her this morning, she had one in her hand ready to hand out to another stranger who shared her experience.
A good answer for many detailers involves buffing and reconditioning treatments, which go hand-in-hand with producing that perfect finish.
MARYSVILLE When Mike Robinson catches somebody red-handed , they are red handed, literally.
Keep your hips level as your try to line up your top hand over your bottom hand.
If you're left-handed, you know how tough it is to live in a right-handed world.
A powerful prescription drug has gotten into the wrong hands--children's hands CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports in an Eye on America investigation.
Many don't believe this but sports and politics go hand in hand, which is great for me because I have a short history of being political.
I know that there's the unwritten law that beauty and pain can sometimes, go hand-in-hand (i.e.
National initiative goes hand in hand with NEA work to fill STEM teacher shortage.
Music and words go hand-in-hand.
When you take your grip, pull your left thumb (for right handed golfers) up a bit closer to the rest of your hand and fingers.
Yumsugar.comOn one hand you have the candy coated chocolates that melt in your mouth, not in your hand.
Bob Rupprecht and the Lutheran Church go hand in hand.
It's pretty commonly understood that engaged employees and productive organizations go hand in hand.
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In science:

But then the right-hand side of (64) vanishes, while its left-hand side is strictly positive.
Pseudo-Hermitian Description of PT-Symmetric Systems Defined on a Complex Contour
Especially, in the quantum cosmology |Ψ|2 may be used to investigate the correspondence between the solutions of Wheeler-DeWittt equation, in one hand, and the classical paths, on the other hand.
On the Quantum Aspects of Geophysics
The following Proposition shows that the vertex link graph just defined is, on the one hand, canonical (with respect to V F –isomorphism) and, on the other hand, strongly tied to the structure of the Deligne complex.
Automorphisms and abstract commensurators of 2-dimensional Artin groups
If the model is not self dual, as in the random Ising model on the triangular and hexagonal lattices, the duality relation (5) is replaced with a similar expression with the left hand side being the partition function for the triangular lattice and the right hand side for the hexagonal lattice, for example.
Possibly Exact Solution for the Multicritical Point of Finite-Dimensional Spin Glasses
It is seen that the folding process may generate a left handed α-helix instead of the right-handed one that is actually present in the true native conformation.
Chirality and Protein Folding
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