hand

(redirected from handful)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
See: deliver, employee, handwriting, help, present

HAND. That part of the human body at the end of the arm.
     2. Formerly the hand was considered as the symbol of good faith, and some contracts derive their names from the fact that the hand was used in making them; as handsale, (q.v.) mandatum, (q.v.) which comes from a mandata. The hand is still used for various legal or forensic purposes. When a person is accused of a crime and he is arraigned, and he is asked to hold up his right hand; and when one is sworn as a witness, he is required to lay his right hand on the Bible, or to hold it up.
     3. Hand is also the name of a measure of length used in ascertaining the height of horses. It is four inches long. See Measure: Ell.
     4. In a figurative sense, by hand is understood a particular form of writing; as if B writes a good hand. Various kinds of hand have been used, as, the secretary hand, the Roman hand, the court hand, &c. Wills and contracts may be written in any of these, or any other which is intelligible.

References in classic literature ?
She went into the house; I stayed behind a few minutes to plant in my garden a handful of roots I had dug up in the forest, and which I feared would wither if I left them till the morning.
It racked me to recall past happiness and the greater peril there was of conjuring up its apparition, the quicker the thible ran round, and the faster the handfuls of meal fell into the water.
Alone and on foot, you could carry away a mere handful.
It came into my mind when I began to chew it that perhaps it might be that venomous herb against which no antidote had yet been found, but persuading myself afterwards that my fears were merely chimerical, I continued to chew it, till a man accidentally meeting me, and seeing me with a handful of it, cried out to me that I was poisoned; I had happily not swallowed any of it, and throwing out what I had in my mouth, I returned God thanks for this instance of his protection.
He took a tremendous jump off the top of the wall on to the top of the cat, and cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it into the garden-house, scratching off a handful of fur.
My absence had been noted by Sola on her awakening, and she had quickly informed Tars Tarkas, who had set out immediately with a handful of warriors to search for me.
When the nature of the country required much travel upon the level, and the distance between trees was great, they moved silently, knowing that the lion and the leopard would not be fooled by noise when they could see plainly for themselves that only a handful of baboons were on the trail.
Jingle, jingle, went the shillings, as handful after handful was thrown in, till, plump and ponderous as she was, they fairly weighed the young lady from the floor.
Bruno took a good handful of mane in each hand, and made believe to guide this new kind of steed.
They cordially hated them; but the impulses of their resentment were neutralized by their dread of the floating batteries, which lay with their fatal tubes ostentatiously pointed, not at fortifications and redoubts, but at a handful of bamboo sheds, sheltered in a grove of cocoanuts
They found themselves a mere handful of men, on a savage coast, surrounded by hostile tribes, who would doubtless be incited and encouraged to deeds of violence by the late fearful catastrophe.
So she made a fire on her hearth, and that it might burn the quicker, she lighted it with a handful of straw.