close to one's adversary; at close quarters: hand-to-hand combat.

Origin of hand-to-hand

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hand-to-hand

Contemporary Examples of hand-to-hand

Historical Examples of hand-to-hand

  • Is crushed to death by Bewulf in a hand-to-hand combat, 2502 ff.



  • There was no struggling now—no hand-to-hand wrestling with storm-demons.

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • It was a hand-to-hand contest, and torrents of human blood ran that day.

    Blood and Iron

    John Hubert Greusel

  • It ended in a hand-to-hand fight; and eventually the enemy gave way.



  • It was a hand-to-hand conflict, which, however, could not have lasted four minutes.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for hand-to-hand


adjective, adverb

at close quartersthey fought hand-to-hand
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