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hand - definition and synonyms

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noun     hand pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] the part of your body at the end of each arm that you use for picking up and holding things

    Mrs Bennet put her hands over her ears to shut out the noise.

    have/hold something in your hand:

    He was holding a mug of coffee in his left hand.

    hold someone’s hand:

    He sat by the bed and held her hand.

    hold hands (=hold each other’s hands):

    The park was full of young couples holding hands.

    take someone by the hand:

    George took her by the hand and helped her out of the car.

    hand in hand (=holding each other’s hand):

    They walked along the cliff top hand in hand.

    shake hands:

    The two men introduced themselves and shook hands.

  2. 3
    [singular] help
    give someone a hand (=help someone):

    Can you give me a hand with these boxes?

    like/want/need a hand:

    Would you like a hand with the cleaning up?

    lend a hand (=help):

    Lydia lent a hand (=helped) with the costumes.

    Synonyms and related words
  3. 4
    [singular] if people give someone a hand, they clap their hands to show that they have enjoyed a performance
    a big hand for someone:

    A big hand for the band, ladies and gentlemen!

    give someone a big hand:

    Let’s give the children a big hand.

  4. 5
    [countable] the particular set of cards that have been given to you in a game of cards
  5. 6
    [singular] informal the advantages you have that give you a chance to be successful in a particular situation
    play your hand (=use your advantages):

    Everything depends on how the company plays its hand.

    See also show
  6. 7
    [countable] the hands on a clock are the long parts that move round and show the time
  7. 8
    [countable] a unit for measuring how tall a horse is
  8. 9
    [countable] mainly literary someone’s handwriting

    The manuscript was written in the author’s own hand.

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patio diplomacy

high-level diplomats meeting and dining in an informal environment e.g. a party or club

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