18 idioms with HAND

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You probably know lots of common English words…

…but knowing individual words is NOT enough!

If you want to be fluent in English, you also need to know the common idioms and informal expressions using those common words.

For example, you already know the basic meaning of the word “hand” ✋

But do you know what these idioms mean?

  • get out of hand
  • second-hand
  • tip your hand
  • hands down

You’ll learn these and lots more in today’s lesson!

Also, if you want to learn more than 300 idioms in the next 30 days, come join my idioms course! It will teach you so many of the informal idiomatic expressions that native English speakers use – so that you can understand English better, and advance your own fluency.

18 idioms with HAND Espresso English

Let’s get started with these “hand” idioms:

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 camera has changed hands several times, but it’s still in good condition.

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 taken 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:

Jane is our employee of the month. Let’s give her 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.)

= Previously owned or used

I save money by buying second-hand furniture.

If you hear or find out about something second hand, it means you find out from another person or source, not from the original person/source:

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.

During the interview, the director tipped his hand about the next movie he’s working on.

18. On One Hand… On The Other Hand

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

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

I hope you enjoyed this lesson! Go ahead and try writing your own sentences using the idioms you learned today. And don’t stop here – keep it going by joining my 300 idioms course. Inside the course, you can actually get teacher feedback on your sentences – it’s a great way to find out if you’re using the idioms correctly.

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18 idioms with HAND Espresso English

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