Saturday, February 12, 2005


Phrases at hand

Prerana Trehan

This week we study some more idioms that are related to the hand:

Close/near at hand: very near.

The accident was serious but thankfully help was near at hand.

Force someone’s hand: force someone to act, make a decision etc. sooner than he may be willing to.

I have not yet made up my mind to sell my land to him but he is trying to force my hand.

Bond/tied hand and foot: be unable/powerless to act.

The new district collector wants to do things differently but unfortunately he is bound hand and foot by the rules.

Eat out of someone’s hand(s): be under someone’s influence; submit to his wishes willingly.

It has not been even a week since they met but she has him eating out of her hand already.

Get out of hand: cannot be controlled any more.

The hotel had deployed security guards to ensure that the rowdy crowd of holiday revellers did not get out of hand.

Give someone a hand: help someone do something, especially something that involves physical effort.

When my father told me that he was planning to paint the house, I offered to give him a hand.

Give someone a big hand: applaud someone, especially after a speech, performance etc.

When Amitabh Bachchan came on the stage to receive an award, the audience gave him a big hand.

Have a hand in something: be involved actively in something; be responsible for something being done.

The police suspect that the servant had a hand in the robbery.

(Reference: Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)