Hand

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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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Hands Down workbook is presented as a self-help guide for spousal abusers to deal with the effects of their abusive behavior.
"I am still in contact with a lot of the ex-miners and, although we realise the NUM is doing its utmost for us, we seem to win the case hands down every time yet UK Coal appears to be holding out and holding out.
Under the bizarre plan, young people would sit on a panel which hands down sentences to teenage thieves and vandals.