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Webster 1913 Edition


handful

hand′ful

(hănd′fụl)
,
Noun.
;
pl.
handfuls
(hănd′fụlz)
.
[AS.
handfull
.]
1.
As much as the hand will grasp or contain.
Addison.
2.
A hand’s breadth; four inches.
[Obs.]
Knap the tongs together about a
handful
from the bottom.
Bacon.
3.
A small quantity or number.
This
handful
of men were tied to very hard duty.
Fuller.
To have one's handful
,
to have one's hands full; to have all one can do.
[Obs.]
They
had their handful
to defend themselves from firing.
Sir. W. Raleigh.

Webster 1828 Edition


Handful

HAND'FUL

,
Noun.
As much as the hand will grasp or contain.
1.
As much as the arms will embrace.
2.
A palm; four inches.
3.
A small quantity or number. A handful of men.
4.
As much as can be done; full employment.
In America, the phrase is,he has his hands full.

Definition 2022


handful

handful

English

Alternative forms

Noun

handful (plural handfuls or handsful)

  1. The amount that a hand will grasp or contain.
    I put two or three corns in my mouth, liked it, stole a handful, went into my chamber, chewed it, and for two months after never failed taking toll of every pennyworth of oatmeal that came into the house. - Joseph Addison, The Spectator, Vol. VI
  2. (obsolete) A hand's breadth; four inches.
    Knap the tongs together about a handful from the bottom. - Francis Bacon
  3. A small quantity, usually approximately equal to five.
    This handful of men were tied to very hard duty. - Fuller
  4. Something which can only be managed with difficulty.
    Those twins are a real handful to look after.

Synonyms

Derived terms

  • To have one's handful: (Obsolete): to have one's hands full; to have all one can do.
    They had their handful to defend themselves from firing. - Sir Walter Raleigh

Related terms

Translations