Hand idioms are a fascinating aspect of the English language. They are expressions that use the hand or fingers as a metaphor for a variety of concepts, such as success, assistance, and deception. You might have heard some of these idioms before, such as “give someone a hand” or “have a hand in something,” but there are many more to discover.
List of Hand Idioms and Phrases
- At hand/handy
- By hand
- On hand
- Out of hand
- Put your hand in your pocket
- First hand
- Second hand
- On the one hand…On the other hand
- Know like the back of your hand
- Give a hand/ lend a hand
- Hands down
- Force someone’s hand
- Get your hands dirty
- Hand something up
- Have (someone’s) blood on (one’s) hands
- Hold/put your hands up
- In somebody’s capable, safe, etc. hands
- In the hands of somebody, in somebody’s hands
- In safe hands, in the safe hands of somebody
- Keep your hand in
- Take your courage in both hands
- Take the law into your own hands
- Take your life in your hands
- Turn your hand to something
- Wait on somebody hand and foot
- Wash your hands of somebody/something
Hand Idioms and Sayings | Image
Hand Idioms with Meaning and Examples
- Meaning: Within reach or readily available.
- Example: “I always keep a flashlight at hand in case of a power outage.”
- Meaning: Done manually or without the use of machines.
- Example: “I prefer to write my notes by hand rather than typing them on a computer.”
- Meaning: Available or present.
- Example: “We have enough food on hand to feed everyone at the party.”
Out of hand
- Meaning: Out of control or impossible to manage.
- Example: “The argument between the two coworkers got out of hand and had to be mediated by the supervisor.”
Put your hand in your pocket
- Meaning: To spend money.
- Example: “I had to put my hand in my pocket to buy the concert tickets.”
- Meaning: Directly experienced or witnessed.
- Example: “I heard about the accident first hand from a witness.”
- Meaning: Indirectly experienced or heard from someone else.
- Example: “I only know about the incident second hand from what my friend told me.”
On the one hand…On the other hand
- Meaning: To present two contrasting opinions or perspectives.
- Example: “On the one hand, I want to go out tonight, but on the other hand, I have a lot of work to do.”
Know like the back of your hand
- Meaning: To know something very well.
- Example: “I know this city like the back of my hand after living here for ten years.”
Give a hand/ lend a hand
- Meaning: To help or assist someone.
- Example: “Can you give me a hand with these heavy boxes?”
- Meaning: Without a doubt or easily.
- Example: “She won the race hands down, she was so far ahead of everyone else.”
Force someone’s hand
- Meaning: To make someone do something they do not want to do.
- Example: “The deadline is approaching, and we may have to force their hand to make a decision.”
Get your hands dirty
- Meaning: To do hard work or get involved in something that is unpleasant.
- Example: “If you want to succeed in this business, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty.”
Hand something up
- Meaning: To submit or present something.
- Example: “I need to hand up my report to my boss by the end of the day.”
Have (someone’s) blood on (one’s) hands
- Meaning: To be responsible for someone’s death or injury.
- Example: “The driver had the pedestrian’s blood on his hands after the accident.”
- Meaning: To be overly forceful or insensitive.
- Example: “The manager’s heavy-handed approach to discipline led to low morale among the employees.”
- Meaning: To be deceitful or dishonest.
- Example: “The politician’s underhanded tactics were exposed by the media.”
Hold/put your hands up
- Meaning: To surrender or admit defeat.
- Example: “The suspect held his hands up when the police arrived.”
In somebody’s capable, safe, etc. hands
- Meaning: To entrust someone with responsibility or care.
- Example: “I left my children in the capable hands of their grandmother while I went on vacation.”
In the hands of somebody, in somebody’s hands
- Meaning: To be controlled or managed by someone.
- Example: “The fate of the company is in the hands of the board of directors.”
In safe hands, in the safe hands of somebody
- Meaning: To be in the care of someone who is trustworthy and competent.
- Example: “Don’t worry, your valuables are in safe hands with our security team.”
Keep your hand in
- Meaning: To maintain a skill or keep up with a hobby.
- Example: “Even though I retired, I still like to keep my hand in and play golf on the weekends.”
Take your courage in both hands
- Meaning: To be brave and face a difficult situation.
- Example: “I had to take my courage in both hands and ask my boss for a raise.”
Take the law into your own hands
- Meaning: To seek revenge or justice without legal authority.
- Example: “Vigilantism is not the answer, we cannot take the law into our own hands.”
Take your life in your hands
- Meaning: To put oneself in a dangerous or risky situation.
- Example: “Crossing the busy street without looking both ways is like taking your life in your hands.”
Turn your hand to something
- Meaning: To try or attempt to do something that you have little or no experience in.
- Example: “She turned her hand to painting and discovered a hidden talent.”
Wait on somebody hand and foot
- Meaning: To serve someone in a very attentive and subservient manner, fulfilling their every need and desire.
- Example: “The butler waited on the wealthy family hand and foot.”
Wash your hands of somebody/something
- Meaning: To disassociate oneself from someone or something, to stop being involved or responsible for it.
- Example: “The company decided to wash its hands of the faulty product and issue a recall.”
Above is a list of most common idioms with Hand you should learn to enlarge your vocabulary in English.
Body Parts Idioms
List of Body Idioms in English with meaning and examples.