The following idioms are formed with the word hand. Each idiom is followed by its meaning / definition and example sentences.
When something is at hand, it is very close to you and easy to reach.
- Don’t worry. Help is at hand if you need it.
Close at hand / near at hand
- I always keep a dictionary close at hand.
At the hands of someone
The French suffered defeat at the hands of the English. (= The English defeated the French.)
- The cat died at the hands of the cruel boy. (= The cruel boy killed the cat.)
If you experience something first hand, you experience it yourself. If you experience something second hand or third hand, you hear about it from someone else.
- She has experienced poverty first hand.
Get / lay your hands on something
To lay your hands on something is to obtain it.
- She has read every book she could lay her hands on.
Go hand in hand
When things go hand in hand, they happen or exist together.
- Poverty and suffering go hand in hand.
Hand in glove
To work hand in glove with someone is to work very closely with them.
Hand over fist
- If you earn money hand over fist, you earn a lot of it. If you spend money hand over fist, you spend a lot of it.
Someone’s hands are tied
When your hands are tied, you can’t do what you want to do because something such as a rule prevents you from doing it.
- I really wanted to help him, but unfortunately my hands were tied.
Have a hand in something
To have a hand in something is to help to make something happen.
- The police suspect that he has a hand in the robbery.
Have someone/something on your hands
When you have something on your hands, you have a problem that must deal with.
- You have quite a problem on your hands.
- If he does what he says, then we will soon have a lawsuit on our hands.
Have time on your hands
- He must have a lot of time on his hands. He is always on Facebook.
Have your hands full
When you have your hands full, you are extremely busy with a difficult job.
- Sorry, I can’t help you at the moment. I have my hands full.
Get out of hand = become uncontrollable
- We decided to leave before things got out of hand.
Turn your hand to something
When you turn your hand to something, you start doing something new.
- The former model has now turned his hand to acting.