Your hand is the appendage with fingers at the end of your arm. When you clap your hands, you loudly smack their palms together to express your appreciation and enthusiasm.

Human hands have 27 bones, as well as extremely dextrous thumbs that make it possible for us to do things that very few animals can do. Your hands enable you to pick up small things, hold a baby, pet a cat, speak in American Sign Language, chop vegetables for a salad, and many other things. When you clap, you give someone a hand, or applaud them — and another way to lend a hand is to help someone out.

Primary Meanings of hand

the (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb
a hired laborer on a farm or ranch
place into the hands or custody of
something written by hand
a position given by its location to the side of an object
a card player in a game of bridge
a rotating pointer on the face of a timepiece
a unit of length equal to 4 inches; used in measuring horses
a round of applause to signify approval
Full Definitions of hand

n the (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb

“he had the hands of a surgeon”
manus, mitt, paw
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
clenched fist, fist
a hand with the fingers clenched in the palm (as for hitting)
hooks, maulers, meat hooks
large strong hand (as of a fighter)
right, right hand
the hand that is on the right side of the body
left, left hand
the hand that is on the left side of the body
Type of:
that part of a limb that is farthest from the torso

n terminal part of the forelimb in certain vertebrates (e.g. apes or kangaroos)

“"the kangaroo's forearms seem undeveloped but the powerful five-fingered hands are skilled at feinting and clouting"- Springfield (Mass.) Union”
Type of:
front paw; analogous to the human hand

n a hired laborer on a farm or ranch

“the hired hand fixed the railing”
“a ranch hand
hired hand, hired man
show 17 types...
hide 17 types...
farm worker, farmhand, field hand, fieldhand
a hired hand on a farm
drover, herder, herdsman
someone who drives a herd
ranch hand
a hired hand on a ranch
groom, hostler, ostler, stableboy, stableman
someone employed in a stable to take care of the horses
cattleman, cowboy, cowhand, cowherd, cowman, cowpoke, cowpuncher, puncher
a hired hand who tends cattle and performs other duties on horseback
dairymaid, milkmaid
a woman who works in a dairy
a man who works in a dairy
a woman working on a farm
someone who picks up grain left in the field by the harvesters
goat herder, goatherd
a person who tends a flock of goats
harvester, reaper
someone who helps to gather the harvest
someone who gathers crops or fruits etc.
ploughman, plower, plowman
a man who plows
sheepherder, sheepman, shepherd
a herder of sheep (on an open range); someone who keeps the sheep together in a flock
pigman, swineherd
a herder or swine
someone who waters plants or crops
a farmhand hired to remove weeds
Type of:
jack, laborer, labourer, manual laborer
someone who works with their hands; someone engaged in manual labor

n a member of the crew of a ship

“all hands on deck”
Type of:
crewman, sailor
any member of a ship's crew

n physical assistance

“give me a hand with the chores”
helping hand
Type of:
aid, assist, assistance, help
the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose

v place into the hands or custody of

hand me the spoon, please”
give, pass, pass on, reach, turn over
show 15 types...
hide 15 types...
leave with; give temporarily
slip, sneak
pass on stealthily
give (a specific card) to a player
deliver, fork out, fork over, fork up, hand over, render, turn in
to surrender someone or something to another
free, give up, release, relinquish, resign
part with a possession or right
commit, confide, entrust, intrust, trust
confer a trust upon
entrust, leave
put into the care or protection of someone
give to in charge
release from government control
deliver something in trust to somebody for a special purpose and for a limited period
give away
formally hand over to the bridegroom in marriage; of a bride by her father
give, sacrifice
endure the loss of
charge, consign
give over to another for care or safekeeping
commit again
commit in order to fulfill an obligation
Type of:
cause to change ownership

v guide or conduct or usher somewhere

hand the elderly lady into the taxi”
Type of:
conduct, direct, guide, lead, take
take somebody somewhere

n something written by hand

“his hand was illegible”
handwriting, script
show 10 types...
hide 10 types...
shorthand, stenography, tachygraphy
a method of writing rapidly
cursive, cursive script, longhand, running hand
rapid handwriting in which letters are set down in full and are cursively connected within words without lifting the writing implement from the paper
calligraphy, chirography, penmanship
beautiful handwriting
cacography, scratch, scrawl, scribble
poor handwriting
a small cursive script developed from uncial between the 7th and 9th centuries and used in medieval manuscripts
a graceful style of handwriting based on the writing used on copperplate engravings
a style of handwriting with the letters slanting to the right
round hand
a clearly written style of longhand with large round curves
chicken scratch
cramped or illegible handwriting
an illegible scrawl
Type of:
letters or symbols that are written or imprinted on a surface to represent the sounds or words of a language

n ability

“he wanted to try his hand at singing”
Type of:
ability, power
possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done

n a position given by its location to the side of an object

“objections were voiced on every hand
Type of:
a place within a region identified relative to a center or reference location

n one of two sides of an issue

“on the one hand..., but on the other hand...”
Type of:
an aspect of something (as contrasted with some other implied aspect)

n a card player in a game of bridge

“we need a 4th hand for bridge”
bridge player
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
someone who makes a bid at cards
bridge partner
one of a pair of bridge players who are on the same side of the game
contractor, declarer
the bridge player in contract bridge who wins the bidding and can declare which suit is to be trumps
pre-emptor, preemptor
a bidder in bridge who makes a preemptive bid
a bridge partner who increases the partner's bid
Type of:
card player
someone who plays (or knows how to play) card games

n the cards held in a card game by a given player at any given time

“I didn't hold a good hand all evening”
“he kept trying to see my hand
show 9 types...
hide 9 types...
bridge hand
the cards held in a game of bridge
poker hand
the 5 cards held in a game of poker
a bridge hand that is void of trumps
royal flush
a poker hand with the ace, king, queen, jack, and 10 all in the same suit
straight flush
a poker hand with consecutive cards in the same suit
full house
a poker hand with 3 of a kind and a pair
a poker hand with all 5 cards in the same suit
a poker hand with 5 consecutive cards (regardless of suit)
a poker hand with 2 cards of the same value
Type of:
accumulation, aggregation, assemblage, collection
several things grouped together or considered as a whole

n a rotating pointer on the face of a timepiece

“the big hand counts the minutes”
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
hour hand, little hand
the shorter hand of a clock that points to the hours
big hand, minute hand
points to the minutes
second hand
hand marking seconds on a timepiece
sweep hand, sweep-second
a second hand that is mounted on the same center as the hour and minute hand and is read on the minutes
Type of:
an indicator as on a dial

n a unit of length equal to 4 inches; used in measuring horses

“the horse stood 20 hands
Type of:
handbreadth, handsbreadth
any unit of length based on the breadth of the human hand

n a round of applause to signify approval

“give the little lady a great big hand
Type of:
applause, clapping, hand clapping
a demonstration of approval by clapping the hands together

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.