A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Hand (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 960, 961

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 960, 961

Hand. n.s. [hand, hond, Saxon, and in all the Teutonick dialects.]

  1. The palm with the fingers; the member with which we hold or use any instrument.

    They laid hands upon him, and bound him hand and foot. Knolles's History of the Turks.

    So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
    That ever since in love's embraces met.
    Milt. Parad. Lost.

    They hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
    Through Eden took their solitary way.

    That wonderful instrument the hand, was it made to be idle? Berkley.

  2. Measure of four inches; a measure used in the matches of horses; a palm.

  3. Side, right or left.

    For the other side of the court-gate on this hand, and that hand, were hangings of fifteen cubits. Ex. xxxviii. 15.

  4. Part; quarter; side.

    It is allowed on all hands, that the people of England are more corrupt in their morals than any other nation this day under the sun. Swift.

  5. Ready payment with respect to the receiver.

    Of which offer the bassa accepted, receiving in hand one year's tribute. Knolles's History of the Turks.

    These two must make our duty very easy; a considerable reward in hand, and the assurance of a far greater recompence hereafter. Tillotson's Sermons.

  6. Ready payment with regard to the payer.

    Let not the wages of any man tarry with thee, but give it him out of hand. Tob. iv. 14.

  7. Rate; price.

    Time is the measure of business, as money of wares: business is bought at a dear hand, where there is small dispatch. Bacon, Essay 26.

  8. Terms; conditions.

    With simplicity admire and accept the mystery; but at no hand by pride, ignorance, interest, or vanity wrest it to ignoble senses. Taylor's Worthy Communicant.

    It is either an ill sign or an ill effect, and therefore at no hand consistent with humility. Taylor's Rule of living holy.

  9. Act; deed; external action.

    Thou sawest the contradiction between my heart and hand. King Charles.

  10. Labour; act of the hand.

    Alnaschar was a very idle fellow, that never would set his hand to and business during his father's life. Addison's Spectat.

    I rather suspect my own judgement than I can believe a fault to be in that poem, which lay so long under Virgil's correction, and had his last hand put to it. Addison.

  11. Performance.

                Where are these porters,
    These lazy knaves? Y'ave made a fine hand! fellows,
    There's a trim rabble let in.
    Shakespeare's Henry VIII.

  12. Power of performance.

    Will. Honeycomb has told me, that he had a great mind to try his hand at a Spectator, and that he would fain have one of his writing in my works. Addison's Spectator.

    A friend of mine has a very fine hand on the violin. Addison's Guardian, №. 98.

  13. Attempt; undertaking.

    Out of them you dare take in hand to lay open the original of such a nation. Spenser on Ireland.

  14. Manner of gathering or taking.

    As her majesty hath received great profit, so may she, by a moderate hand, from time to time reap the like. Bacon

  15. Workmanship; power or act of manufacturing or making.

    An intelligent being, coming out of the hands of infinite perfection, with an aversion or even indifferency to be reunited with its Author, the source of its utmost felicity, is such a shock and deformity in the beautiful analogy of things, as is not consistent with finite wisdom and perfection. Cheyne.

  16. Manner of acting or performing.

    The master saw the madness rise;
    His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
    And while he heav'n and earth defy'd,
    Chang'd his hand, and check'd his pride.

  17. Agency; part in action.

    God must have set a more than ordinary esteem upon that which David was not thought fit to have an hand in. South.

  18. The act of giving or presenting.

    Let Tamar dress the meat in my sight, that I may eat it at her hand. 2 Sa. xiii. 5.

    To-night the poet's advocate I stand,
    And he deserves the favour at my hand.

  19. Act of receiving any thing ready to one's hand, when it only waits to be taken.

    His power reaches no farther than to compound and divide the materials that are made to his hand; but can do nothing towards the making or destroying one atom of what is already in being. Locke.

    Many, whose greatness and fortune were not made to their hands, had sufficient qualifications and opportunities of rising to these high posts. Addison's Freeholder.

  20. Care; necessity of managing.

    Jupiter had a farm a long time upon his hands, for want of a tenant to come up to his price. L'Estrange.

            When a statesman wants a day's defence,
    Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense,
    Or simple pride for flatt'ry makes demands,
    May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands.

  21. Discharge of duty.

    Let it therefore be required, on both parts, at the hands of the clergy, to be in meanness of estate like the apostles; at the hands of the laity, to be as they who lived under the apostles. Hooker, Preface.

  22. Reach; nearness: as, at hand, within reach, near, approaching.

    Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet. Shakesp

    Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand
    That chambers will be safe.
    Shakespeare's Macbeth.

    He is at hand, and Pindarus is come
    To do you salutation.
    Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

    The sight of his mind was like some sights of eyes; rather strong at hand than to carry afar off. Bacon's Henry VII.

    Any light thing that moveth, when we find no wind, sheweth a wind at hand. Bacon's Natural History.

    A very great sound near hand hath strucken many deaf. Bacon's Natural History, №. 128.

    It is not probable that any body should effect that at a distance, which, nearer hand, it cannot perform. Brown.

    When mineral or metal is to be generated, nature needs not to have at hand salt, sulphur, and mercury. Boyle.

  23. Manual management.

    Nor swords at hand, nor hissing darts afar,
    Are doom'd t' avenge the tedious bloody war.
    Dryd. Juven.

  24. State of being in preparation.

    Where is our usual manager mirth?
    What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
    To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

  25. State of being in present agitation.

    I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye;
    That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
    Than to drive liking to the name of war.

    It is indifferent to the matter in hand which way the learned shall determine of it. Locke.

  26. Cards held at game.

    There was never an hand drawn, that did double the rest of the habitable world, before this; for so a man may term it, if he shall put to account that which may be hereafter, by the occupation and colonizing of those countries. Bacon.

  27. That which is used in opposition to another.

                    He would dispute,
    Confute, change hands, and still confute.
    Hudibras, p. i.

  28. Scheme of action.

    Consult of your own ways, and think which hand
    Is best to take.
    Ben. Johnson's Catiline.

    They who thought they could never be secure, except the king were first at their mercy, were willing to change the hand in carrying on the war. Clarendon, b. viii.

  29. Advantage; gain; superiority.

    The French king, supposing to make his hand by those rude ravages in England, broke off his treaty of peace, and proclaimed hostility. Hayward.

  30. Competition; contest.

    She in beauty, education, blood,
    Holds hand with any princess of the world.
    Shakes. K. Lear.

  31. Transmission; conveyance; agency of conveyance.

    The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Col. iv. 18.

  32. Possession; power.

    Sacraments serve as the moral instruments of God to that purpose; the use whereof is in our hands, the effect in his. Hooker.

    And though you war, like petty wrangling states,
    You're in my hand; and when I bid you cease,
    You shall be crush'd together into peace.

    Between the landlord and tenant there must be a quarter of the revenue of the land constantly in their hands. Locke.

    It is fruitless pains to learn a language, which one may guess by his temper he will wholly neglect, as soon as an approach to manhood, setting him free from a governour, shall put him into the hands of his own inclination. Locke.

    Vectigales Agri were lands taken from the enemy, and distributed amongst the soldiers, or left in the hands of the proprietors under the condition of certain duties. Arbuthnot.

  33. Pressure of the bridle.

    There are no tricks in plain and simple faith;
    But hollow men, like horses hot at hand,
    Make gallant show and promise of their mettle.

  34. Method of government; discipline; restraint.

    Menelaus bare an heavy hand over the citizens, having a malicious mind against his countrymen. 2 Mac. v. 23.

    He kept a strict hand on his nobility, and chose rather to advance clergymen and lawyers. Bacon's Henry VII.

    However strict a hand is to be kept upon all desires of fancy, yet in recreation fancy must be permitted to speak. Locke.

  35. Influence; management.

            Flattery, the dang'rous nurse of vice,
    Got hand upon his youth, to pleasures bent.

  36. That which performs the office of a hand in pointing.

    The body, though it moves, yet changing perceivable distance with other bodies, as fast as the ideas of our own minds do naturally follow one another, the thing seems to stand still; as is evident in the hands of clocks and shadows of sundials. Locke.

  37. Agent; person employed.

    The wisest prince, if he can save himself and his people from ruin, under the worst administration, what may not his subjects hope for when he changeth hands, and maketh use of the best? Swift.

  38. Giver, and receiver.

    This tradition is more like to be a notion bred in the mind of man, than transmitted from hand to hand through all generations. Tillotson, Sermon 1.

  39. An actor; a workman; a soldier.

    Your wrongs are known: impose but your commands,
    This hour shall bring you twenty thousand hands.

    Demetrius appointed the painter guards for his security, pleased that he could preserve that hand from the barbarity and insolence of soldiers. Dryden's Dufresnoy.

    A dictionary containing a natural history requires too many hands, as well as too much time, ever to be hoped for. Locke.

  40. Catch or reach without choice.

    The men of Israel smote as well the men of every city as the beast, and all that came to hand. Judg. xx. 48.

    A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
    First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf,
    Uncull'd as came to hand.
    Milton's Paradise Lost, b. xi.

  41. Form or craft of writing.

    Here is th' indictment of the good lord Hastings,
    Which in a set hand fairly is engross'd;
    Eleven hours I've spent to write it over.
    Shakesp. Rich. III.

    Solyman shewed him his own letters intercepted, asking him if he knew not that hand, if he knew not that seal. Knoll.

    Being discovered by their knowledge of Mr. Cowley's hand, I happily escaped. Denham, Dedication.

    If my debtors do not keep their day,
    Deny their hands, and then refuse to pay,
    I must attend.
    Dryd Juvenal.

    Whether men write court or Roman hand, or any other, there is something peculiar in every one's writing. Cockburn

    The way to teach to write, is to get a plate graved with the characters of such hand you like. Locke

    Constantia saw that the hand writing agreed with the contents of the letter. Addison's Spectator.

    I present these thoughts in an ill hand; but scholars are bad penmen: we seldom regard the mechanick part of writing. Felton on the Classicks.

    They were wrote on both sides, and in a small hand. Arbut.

  42. Hand over head. Negligently; rashly; without seeing what one does.

    So many strokes of the alarum bell of fear and awaking to other nations, and the facility of the titles, which, hand over hand, have served their turn, doth ring the peal so much the louder. Bacon's War with Spain.

    A country fellow got an unlucky tumble from a tree: thus 'tis, says a passenger, when people will be doing things hand over head, without either fear or wit. L'Estrange.

  43. Hand to Hand. Close fight.

    In single opposition, hand to hand,
    He did confound the best part of an hour.
    Shakesp. H. IV.

    He issues, ere the fight, his dread command,
    That slings afar, and poiniards hand to hand,
    Be banish'd from the field.
    Dryden's Fables.

  44. Hand in Hand. In union; conjointly.

    Had the sea been Marlborough's element, the war had been bestowed there, to the advantage of the country, which would then have gone hand in hand with his own. Swift

  45. Hand in Hand. Fit; pat.

    As fair and as good, a kind of hand in hand comparison, had been something too fair and too good for any lady in Britany. Shakespeare's Cymbeline.

  46. Hand to mouth. As want requires.

    I can get bread from hand to mouth, and make even at the year's end. L'Estrange.

  47. To bear in Hand. To keep in expectation; to elude.

    A rascally yea forsooth knave, to bear in hand, and then stand upon security. Shakespeare's Henry IV. p. ii.

  48. To be Hand and Glove. To be intimate and familiar.

Sources: The Bible - 2. Maccabees (14) · The Bible - 2. Samuel (10) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Arbuthnot, John (227) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Berkeley, George (3) · Boyle, Robert (84) · Browne, Thomas (204) · Butler, Samuel (98) · Charles I (27) · Cheyne, George (26) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Cockburn, John (1) · The Bible - Colossians (3) · Shakespeare's Cymbeline (73) · Daniel, Samuel (28) · Denham, John (75) · Dryden, John (788) · The Bible - Exodus (25) · Felton, Henry (14) · Hayward, John (42) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (46) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Hooker, Richard (175) · Jonson, Ben (70) · The Bible - Judges (13) · Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (42) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Knolles, Richard (44) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83) · Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream (28) · Milton, John (449) · Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (23) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Shakespeare's Richard III (63) · South, Robert (158) · Spectator (140) · Spenser, Edmund (254) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Taylor, Jeremy (57) · Tillotson, John (68) · The Bible - Tobit (5)

Attributes: Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215) · Teutonic (5)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Hand (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 16, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/hand-noun/.

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