Hand idioms: 25 useful Hand idioms
Exploring the Fascinating World of Hand Idioms” – From “having the upper hand” to “lending a helping hand,” hand idioms offer a unique glimpse into the richness of language. Discover the hidden meanings behind these expressions that frequently grace our conversations and lend a hand in unlocking their metaphorical power.
List of Hand idioms
- Give a hand
- Get out of hand
- Hand in hand
- Have a hand in
- Bite the hand that feeds you
- All hands on deck
- Have the upper hand
- On one hand…on the other hand
- Shake hands on it
- Play into someone’s hands
- Work hand in glove
- Have a free hand
- Wash your hands of something
- Caught red-handed
- Twist someone’s arm
- Let something slip through your fingers
- Be hand-picked
- Raise your hand
- Have your hands tied
- Get out of hand
- Have a heavy hand
- Wash your hands of it
- Take matters into your own hands
- Have clean hands
Hand idioms: List of hand idioms with meaning and Examples
Give a hand
Meaning: Help or assist someone
- Can you give me a hand with these boxes?
- Thanks for giving me a hand with my homework.
- I gave him a hand when he was moving his furniture.
Get out of hand
Meaning: Become uncontrollable
- The party got out of hand after midnight.
- The protest started to get out of hand when the police arrived.
- The children’s behavior got out of hand during the field trip.
Hand in hand
Meaning: Together, often in a close relationship or agreement
- The two companies are working hand in hand to develop new technology.
- The couple walked hand in hand along the beach.
- Education and economic development go hand in hand.
Have a hand in
Meaning: Involved in something, often in a negative way
- He had a hand in the company’s bankruptcy.
- She had a hand in spreading the rumors.
- The government had a hand in the decision to increase taxes.
Bite the hand that feeds you
Meaning: Harm or criticize someone who is helping or supporting you
- I wouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you by insulting your manager in public.
- Don’t bite the hand that feeds you or you might regret it later.
All hands on deck
Meaning: Everyone must help and work together
- The project is behind schedule, so we need all hands on deck to finish it on time.
- The company is facing a crisis, so it’s all hands on deck to save it.
- We’re preparing for a big event, so we need all hands on deck to make it a success.
Have the upper hand
Meaning: Have an advantage or control in a situation
- The home team had the upper hand in the game.
- In a game of chess, the player who has more pieces has the upper hand.
Meaning: Use too much force or be too aggressive
- The police were criticized for their heavy-handed tactics during the protest.
- The boss was heavy-handed in his management style, which made employees unhappy.
On one hand…on the other hand
Meaning: Used to present two different sides or perspectives on an issue
- On one hand, I want to stay home and relax. On the other hand, I promised my friend I’d go to her party.
- On one hand, the project is interesting. On the other hand, it’s very time-consuming.
Shake hands on it
Meaning: Make a formal agreement or deal by shaking hands
- They shook hands on the business deal and it was sealed.
- We shook hands on the terms of the lease and I moved into the apartment.
- After a long negotiation, the two sides finally shook hands on a compromise.
Play into someone’s hands
Meaning: Do something that benefits someone else, often unintentionally
- By reacting angrily, you’re playing into his hands and giving him the reaction he wants.
- The opposition party accused the government of playing into the hands of the foreign investors.
Work hand in glove
Meaning: Work closely together, often to achieve a common goal
- The marketing and sales teams work hand in glove to promote the company’s products.
- The doctors and nurses work hand in glove to provide the best possible care for their patients.
Have a free hand
Meaning: Have the freedom or authority to do something without interference
- The coach gave the star player a free hand to make decisions on the field.
- The artist was given a free hand to create a mural on the building’s wall.
Wash your hands of something
Meaning: Refuse to be responsible for something
- The company decided to wash its hands of the project because it was losing money.
- After the argument, he washed his hands of the situation and left the room.
Meaning: Caught in the act of doing something wrong or illegal
- The thief was caught red-handed with the stolen jewelry.
- The student was caught red-handed cheating on the exam.
- The employee was caught red-handed embezzling company funds.
Twist someone’s arm
Meaning: Persuade or pressure someone to do something they don’t want to do
- My friends had to twist my arm to get me to go bungee jumping.
- The boss twisted his employee’s arm to work overtime on the weekend.
- She had to twist her parents’ arm to let her travel alone.
Let something slip through your fingers
Meaning: Lose an opportunity or fail to take advantage of something
- He let his dream job slip through his fingers by not applying in time.
- She let the opportunity for a promotion slip through her fingers by not improving her skills.
Meaning: Be carefully chosen or selected
- The new CEO was hand-picked by the board of directors.
- The team members were hand-picked based on their skills and experience.
- The cast for the play was hand-picked by the director.
Raise your hand
Meaning: Indicate that you want to speak or participate in a discussion
- If you have a question, please raise your hand and I’ll call on you.
- She raised her hand to volunteer for the project.
Have your hands tied
Meaning: Be unable to take action or make decisions because of constraints or limitations
- The manager had his hands tied because of budget cuts.
- The negotiator had her hands tied by strict instructions from her superiors.
Get out of hand
Meaning: Become uncontrollable or disorderly
- The party got out of hand when people started breaking things.
- The protest got out of hand when the police used excessive force.
Have a heavy hand
Meaning: Be overly forceful or authoritarian
- The boss has a heavy hand when it comes to managing his employees.
- The coach has a heavy hand with his players, which can be demotivating.
- The teacher has a heavy hand with her students, which can stifle their creativity.
Wash your hands of it
Meaning: Disassociate oneself from a problem or responsibility
- He washed his hands of the relationship after it became too complicated.
- The company washed its hands of the faulty product after numerous complaints.
- She washed her hands of the project after realizing it wasn’t a good fit for her skills.
Take matters into your own hands
Meaning: Take action or control of a situation yourself
- When the police didn’t respond to her call, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
- The employee took matters into his own hands and organized a successful fundraiser for the company.
Have clean hands
Meaning: Have no involvement in a situation or wrongdoing
- The lawyer made sure to have clean hands in the client’s illegal activities.
- The politician promised to have clean hands and not accept bribes.