AskDefine | Define handful

Dictionary Definition

handful

Noun

1 a small number or amount; "only a handful of responses were received" [syn: smattering]
2 the quantity that can be held in the hand [syn: fistful]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

Anglo Saxon handfull.

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. As much as the hand will grasp or contain. - Addison
  2. A hand's breadth; four inches.
    Quotations
    • Knap the tongs together about a handful from the bottom. - Bacon
  3. A small quantity, usually approximately equal to five, the number of fingers on a hand.
    Quotations
    • This handful of men were tied to very hard duty. - Fuller
  4. Something which can only be managed with difficulty.
    Those twins are a real handful to look after.

Derived terms

  • To have one's handful: (Obsolete): to have one's hands full; to have all one can do.
    Quotations
    • They had their handful to defend themselves from firing. - Walter Raleigh

Translations

amount held in hand
  • Czech: hrst
  • Finnish: kourallinen
  • French: poignée
  • Greek: χούφτα
  • Indonesian: segenggam
  • Norwegian: håndfull
  • Polish: garść
  • Russian: горсть, пригоршня
  • Spanish: manojo, puñado
  • Swedish: handfull
breadth of hand
small quantity
  • Finnish: kourallinen
  • French: poignée
  • Greek: χούφτα
  • Indonesian: segenggam
  • Norwegian: håndfull
  • Polish: garść
  • Russian: горстка
handled with difficulty

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Augean task, Herculean task, a few, ace, atom, backbreaker, ballbuster, bit, bitch, bother, chore, couple, dab, dead lift, dole, dot, dram, dribble, driblet, dwarf, farthing, few, fistful, fleck, flyspeck, fragment, gobbet, grain, granule, groat, hair, hard job, hard pull, heavy sledding, iota, jot, large order, limited number, little, little bit, man-sized job, minim, minimum, minutiae, mischief-maker, mite, modicum, molecule, mote, nuisance, nutshell, only a few, ounce, particle, pebble, piddling few, piddling number, pinch, pittance, point, rough go, scattering, scruple, small number, smatter, smattering, smidgen, smitch, spatter, spattering, speck, spoonful, spot, sprinkling, tall order, thimbleful, tiny bit, tittle, too few, tough job, tough proposition, trickle, trifling amount, trivia, troublemaker, uphill work, whit
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