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18 idiomatic expressions with HAND

English Idiomatic Expressions with Hand

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1. get out of hand (v.)

To get out of control.

  • My uncle’s drinking problem got out of hand, and eventually he became an alcoholic.

2. experience something first-hand (v.)

To experience something yourself.

  • I didn’t realize how hard it was to be a parent until I experienced it first-hand.

3. change hands (v.)

For an object to be passed or sold from one owner to another.

  • This house has changed hands several times since it was built.

4. have (got) your hands full (v.)

To be completely busy or occupied with something.

  • Barry and Martha have six children and four dogs – they’ve certainly got their hands full!

5. try your hand at (v.)

Try doing something for the first time.

  • I’ve never taking a cooking class, but I’d like to try my hand at it.

6. at hand (adj.)

Available (used for objects, not people).

  • I like to have a dictionary at hand when I’m reading a book in English.

7. give a hand / lend a hand (v.)

To help somebody with something – especially something that requires physical effort.

  • I can’t carry all these books by myself. Could you give me a hand?
“Give (someone) a hand” also has another meaning – when an audience claps their hands (gives applause) to someone:
  • When the politician finished his speech, the audience gave him a hand.

8. wash your hands of (v.)

To stop being responsible for or involved in something.

  • The manager washed his hands of the whole situation and told us to solve the problem ourselves.

9. hands are tied

Not have the ability to help or take action.

  • I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do. My hands are tied.

10. know like the back of your hand (v.)

To know a place very well.

  • She lived in New York for 20 years – she knows the city like the back of her hand.

11. hands down (adv.)

Obviously, unquestionably, without a doubt.

  • Sarah was hands-down the best skater at the competition.

12. a hand-me-down (n. or adj.)

A piece of clothing that belonged to an older brother/sister and is passed to a younger brother/sister.

  • My mother never bought me new clothes – she just gave me hand-me-downs from my sister.

13. second hand (adj.)

Something you know from another person or source, not directly.

  • I wasn’t at the party – I only heard about it second hand.

14. in good hands (adj.)

In the care of somebody good or knowledgeable.

  • Don’t worry, your car is in good hands – William’s an excellent mechanic.

15. have a hand in (v.)

Have a role in.

  • Janet’s cousin, who is a vice-president at the company, had a hand in getting her the job.

16. take matters into own hands

To take action on a problem yourself because other people have failed to do so.

  • The city hadn’t done anything about the trash in the park, so citizens took matters into their own hands and organized a day to clean it up.

17. tip your hand

To reveal a secret, especially about your own plans or opinions.

  • The director tipped his hand on plans for his next movie.

18. on the one hand… on the other hand

This expression is used to compare two aspects of a situation.

  • On the one hand, my job pays well, but on the other hand, it’s very stressful.

 

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