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[han-dee] /ˈhæn di/
adjective, handier, handiest.
within easy reach; conveniently available; accessible:
The aspirins are handy.
convenient or useful:
A typewriter is a handy thing to have in the house.
skillful with the hands; deft; dexterous:
a handy person.
easily maneuvered:
a handy ship.
Origin of handy
1275-1325; Middle English (in surnames); see hand, -y1
Related forms
handiness, noun
3. all-round; versatile. 4. manageable, wieldy; yare.
Synonym Study
3. See dexterous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for handiness
Historical Examples
  • No doubt he slipped in and out with almost the handiness with which one might crack a whip.

    Woodcraft Alan Douglas
  • He has been invaluable with his sailor's resources and handiness.

    The Daisy Chain Charlotte Yonge
  • Despite his cunning and the handiness of his craft, Dick has not always come off scot-free.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • I've heard about your handiness with the thrust buckets on the cruisers.

    Danger in Deep Space Carey Rockwell
  • When the 'Ariel'—for so they called her—arrived, the friends were delighted with her speed and handiness.

    Shelley Sydney Waterlow
  • At the time I thought he was joking—that I had seen the extreme limit that morning of the "handiness" of the modern destroyer.

    To Kiel in the 'Hercules' Lewis R. Freeman
  • My handiness with the ropes, when I volunteered to help in hoisting sail, surprised and even perplexed him.

    The Adventures of Harry Revel

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • For three years he worked in Mr. Penfold's yard, giving much satisfaction to his employer by his steadiness and handiness.

    A Final Reckoning G. A. Henty
  • Fritz was hurling plenty of "hate" at the solitary little craft, and only her speed and handiness saved her from annihilation.

  • Bob inherited his handiness from his father, who seemed a master of all crafts, a true Yankee genius.

    Hawthorne and His Circle Julian Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for handiness


adjective handier, handiest
conveniently or easily within reach
easy to manoeuvre, handle, or use: a handy tool
skilful with one's hands
Derived Forms
handiness, noun


W(illiam) C(hristopher). 1873–1958, US blues musician and songwriter, esp noted for the song "St Louis Blues"
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for handiness



c.1300, "skilled with the hands" (implied in surnames), from hand (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "conveniently accessible" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with handiness


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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