- an article of clothing passed on to another person after being used, outgrown, etc.: The younger children wore the hand-me-downs of the older ones.
- any item not new that is or can be used again: Our office furniture was a collection of hand-me-downs.
- passed along for further use by others: some hand-me-down clothes from my older brother.
- borrowed or adapted from other sources; derivative: a street full of hand-me-down architecture.
Origin of hand-me-down
First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hand-me-down
The heaps of gifted and hand-me-down pink frilly clothes and accessories grew far faster than we were able to sort and store them.Why I Finally Let My Girls Be Girly
May 17, 2014
You might not have been so cheap this year and accepted a hand-me-down (I mean ALL they want is the candy anyhow).Ding Dong, You Have Lice
October 31, 2013
Not only his clothes, but also his haircuts were hand-me-down.At Good Old Siwash
It was, in all its sad irony, the vulgar "hand-me-down that!"The Crime of the Boulevard
He was of medium height, dressed fairly well in a hand-me-down, and sported a flaming red necktie.Edith and John
Franklin S. Farquhar
That's the flat truth, and I'd like to shake your Jake Kasker out of his suit of hand-me-down clothing.Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls
Edith Van Dyne (AKA L. Frank Baum)
The Socialist cook exchanged his greasy dungarees for a pair of hand-me-down creaseless serge pants.The Flying Bo'sun
- something, esp an outgrown garment, passed down from one person to another
- (as modifier)a hand-me-down dress
- anything that has already been used by another
- (as modifier)hand-me-down ideas
Word Origin and History for hand-me-down
as a modifier, attested by 1826.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper