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[hand] /hænd/
[lur-nid] /ˈlɜr nɪd/ (Show IPA),
1872–1961, U.S. jurist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for learned hand
Historical Examples
  • Others, guiding the calamus with learned hand, draw figures of different shapes and colours on parchments.

  • The classical form of this unacted play, instinct with the spirit of the new reform, betrays the work of a learned hand.

    Amenities of Literature Isaac Disraeli
British Dictionary definitions for learned hand


  1. the prehensile part of the body at the end of the arm, consisting of a thumb, four fingers, and a palm
  2. the bones of this part related adjective manual
the corresponding or similar part in animals
something resembling this in shape or function
  1. the cards dealt to one or all players in one round of a card game
  2. a player holding such cards
  3. one round of a card game
agency or influence: the hand of God
a part in something done: he had a hand in the victory
assistance: to give someone a hand with his work
a pointer on a dial, indicator, or gauge, esp on a clock: the minute hand
acceptance or pledge of partnership, as in marriage: he asked for her hand, he gave me his hand on the merger
a position or direction indicated by its location to the side of an object or the observer: on the right hand, on every hand
a contrastive aspect, condition, etc (in the phrases on the one hand, on the other hand)
(preceded by an ordinal number) source or origin: a story heard at third hand
a person, esp one who creates something: a good hand at painting
a labourer or manual worker: we've just taken on a new hand at the farm
a member of a ship's crew: all hands on deck
(printing) another name for index (sense 9)
a person's handwriting: the letter was in his own hand
a round of applause: give him a hand
ability or skill: a hand for woodwork
a manner or characteristic way of doing something: the hand of a master
a unit of length measurement equalling four inches, used for measuring the height of horses, usually from the front hoof to the withers
a cluster or bundle, esp of bananas
a shoulder of pork
one of the two possible mirror-image forms of an asymmetric object, such as the direction of the helix in a screw thread
a free hand, freedom to do as desired
(usually used with a negative) a hand's turn, a small amount of work: he hasn't done a hand's turn
a heavy hand, tyranny, persecution, or oppression: he ruled with a heavy hand
a high hand, an oppressive or dictatorial manner
at hand, near at hand, very near or close, esp in time
at someone's hand, at someone's hands, from: the acts of kindness received at their hands
by hand
  1. by manual rather than mechanical means
  2. by messenger or personally: the letter was delivered by hand
come to hand, to become available; be received
force someone's hand, to force someone to act
from hand to hand, from one person to another
from hand to mouth
  1. in poverty: living from hand to mouth
  2. without preparation or planning
hand and foot, in all ways possible; completely: they waited on him hand and foot
hand in glove, in an intimate relationship or close association
hand in hand
  1. together; jointly
  2. clasping each other's hands
hand over fist, steadily and quickly; with rapid progress: he makes money hand over fist
hold one's hand, to stop or postpone a planned action or punishment
hold someone's hand, to support, help, or guide someone, esp by giving sympathy or moral support
in hand
  1. in possession
  2. under control
  3. receiving attention or being acted on
  4. available for use; in reserve
  5. with deferred payment: he works a week in hand
keep one's hand in, to continue or practise
lend a hand, to help
on hand, close by; present: I'll be on hand to help you
out of hand
  1. beyond control
  2. without reservation or deeper examination: he condemned him out of hand
set one's hand to
  1. to sign (a document)
  2. to start (a task or undertaking)
show one's hand, to reveal one's stand, opinion, or plans
take in hand, to discipline; control
throw one's hand in, See throw in (sense 3)
to hand, accessible
try one's hand, to attempt to do something
  1. of or involving the hand: a hand grenade
  2. made to be carried in or worn on the hand: hand luggage
  3. operated by hand: a hand drill
(in combination) made by hand rather than by a machine: hand-sewn
verb (transitive)
to transmit or offer by the hand or hands
to help or lead with the hand
(nautical) to furl (a sail)
hand it to someone, to give credit to someone
Derived Forms
handless, adjective
handlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English hand; related to Old Norse hönd, Gothic handus, Old High German hant


have a nice day
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 learned hand



Old English hond, hand "hand; side; power, control, possession," from Proto-Germanic *khanduz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch, German hand, Old Norse hönd, Gothic handus). The original Old English plural handa was superseded in Middle English by handen, later hands.

Meaning "person who does something with his hands" is from 1580s, hence "hired workman" (1630s) and "sailor in a ship's crew" (1660s). Clock and watch sense is from 1570s. Meaning "round of applause" is from 1838. The linear measure of 4 inches (originally 3) is from 1560s, now used only in giving the height of horses. The meaning "playing cards held in one player's hand" is from 1620s; that of "a round at a card game" is from 1620s.

First hand, second hand, etc. (mid-15c.) are from the notion of something being passed down from hand to hand. Out of hand (1590s) is opposite of in hand "under control" (c.1200). Hand over fist (1825) is suggestive of sailors and fishermen hauling in nets. Hand jive is from 1958. To win something hands down (1855) is from horse racing, from a jockey's gesture of letting the reins go loose in an easy victory.

The Two Thousand Guinea Stakes was not the best contested one that it has been our fortune to assist at. ... [T]hey were won by Meteor, with Scott for his rider; who went by the post with his hands down, the easiest of all easy half-lengths. Wiseacre certainly did the best in his power to spoil his position, and Misdeal was at one time a little vexatious. ["The Sportsman," report from April 26, 1840]
To hand it to (someone) "acknowledge someone's ability" is slang from c.1906. Phrase on the one hand ... on the other hand is recorded from 1630s, a figurative use of the physical sense of hand in reference to position on one side or the other side of the body (as in the lefthand side), which goes back to Old English Hands up! as a command from a policeman, robber, etc., is from 1873. Hand-to-mouth is from c.1500. Hand-in-hand attested from c.1500 as "with hands clasped;" figurative sense of "concurrently" recorded from 1570s.


c.1400, "take charge of, seize," from hand (n.). Meaning "to pass (something to someone)" is from 1640s. Related: Handed; handing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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learned hand in Medicine

hand (hānd)

  1. The terminal part of the human arm located below the forearm, used for grasping and holding and consisting of the wrist, palm, four fingers, and an opposable thumb.

  2. A homologous or similar part in other animals.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for learned hand



To give, esp something not desired; bestow forcefully, fraudulently, etc: The Red Sox handed the Yankees a 12 to 3 shellacking/ What kind of con job was he trying to hand you? (1919+)

Related Terms

both hands, cool hand, dead man's hand, give someone the glad hand, glad-hand, have one's hands full, not lay a glove on someone, tip one's mitt, with one's hand in the till, with one hand tied behind one's back

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for learned hand


have a nice day
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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learned hand in the Bible

Called by Galen "the instrument of instruments." It is the symbol of human action (Ps. 9:16; Job 9:30; Isa. 1:15; 1 Tim. 2:8). Washing the hands was a symbol of innocence (Ps. 26:6; 73:13; Matt. 27:24), also of sanctification (1 Cor. 6:11; Isa. 51:16; Ps. 24:3, 4). In Ps. 77:2 the correct rendering is, as in the Revised Version, "My hand was stretched out," etc., instead of, as in the Authorized Version, "My sore ran in the night," etc. The right hand denoted the south, and the left the north (Job 23:9; 1 Sam. 23:19). To give the right hand was a pledge of fidelity (2 Kings 10:15; Ezra 10:19); also of submission to the victors (Ezek. 17:18; Jer. 50:15). The right hand was lifted up in taking an oath (Gen. 14:22, etc.). The hand is frequently mentioned, particularly the right hand, as a symbol of power and strength (Ps. 60:5; Isa. 28:2). To kiss the hand is an act of homage (1 Kings 19:18; Job 31:27), and to pour water on one's hands is to serve him (2 Kings 3:11). The hand of God is the symbol of his power: its being upon one denotes favour (Ezra 7:6, 28; Isa. 1:25; Luke 1:66, etc.) or punishment (Ex. 9:3; Judg. 2:15; Acts 13:11, etc.). A position at the right hand was regarded as the chief place of honour and power (Ps. 45:9; 80:17; 110:1; Matt. 26:64).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with learned hand


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