The word "hand" usually refers to that part of the body that’s at the end of an arm and is used for touching, feeling, and manipulating objects.

  • You have a left hand and a right hand.
  • Your hands do a lot of different things during the course of an average day.
  • I use my hands for just about everything that I do.

When used as a noun, "hand" sometimes means assistance.

Can you give me a hand?  hand

  • Why don’t you give her a hand with those heavy boxes?
  • I can use a hand moving this table.
  • Can I give you a hand with that?

We also use "hand" as a verb when giving something to someone (hand = give):

  • Would you hand me that screwdriver, please?
  • The mail carrier handed me an envelope.
  • Hand in your homework.

As an idiom, you often hear "hand" used with "on" or "off."

  • He takes a hands-on approach to managing his business. (He supervises and participates in the business.)
  • She’s very hands-off when it comes to the raising of her children. (She’s lets the kids do what they want to do, or she doesn’t get very involved.)

December 1, 2011