hand in hand

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In cooperation, jointly, as in Industrial growth and urbanization often go hand in hand. This phrase, often put as go hand in hand with, was first recorded in 1576.

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


What does hand in hand mean?

Hand in hand is used to describe two or more things that are in close cooperation or closely linked together.

Hand in hand can also be used literally to mean holding hands, as in My grandparents still walk hand in hand. 

When it’s used figuratively, hand in hand is often applied to people working closely together or elements of a situation that tend to coincide, perhaps because one causes the other (like drought and famine) or because they exist in a cycle (like poverty and unemployment).

The phrase is especially used with the verbs go and work, as in go hand in hand and work hand in hand.

Example: The marketing team will be working hand in hand with the sales team on the product launch. 

Where does hand in hand come from?

The first records of the literal sense of hand in hand come from the 1300s, but its figurative sense didn’t appear until the 1500s. The metaphor makes sense: people who literally walk hand in hand (hold hands) have a close relationship, and people who work hand in hand need to cooperate and communicate closely.

In this way, hand in hand is often applied to two people or groups that often work separately but will soon be working closely together, as in The government will be working hand in hand with the private sector on this initiative. 

When hand in hand is used to describe things that often happen simultaneously, it usually implies that they have a cause-and-effect relationship or that they have a common cause. Physical and mental health are often said to go hand in hand, for example.​

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for hand in hand?

What are some words that share a root or word element with hand in hand

What are some words that often get used in discussing hand in hand?

What are some words hand in hand may be commonly confused with?

How is hand in hand used in real life?

When it’s applied to close working relationships, hand in hand is often used in a positive way to encourage or praise such cooperation.



Try using hand in hand!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to describe things that go hand in hand?

A. together
B. cooperative
C. close
D. apart

How to use hand in hand in a sentence