[hand-bredth, -bretth]
Also hand's·breadth [handz-bredth, -bretth, -breth] /ˈhændzˌbrɛdθ, -ˌbrɛtθ, -ˌbrɛθ/.

Origin of handbreadth

First recorded in 1525–35; hand + breadth
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for handbreadth

Historical Examples of handbreadth

  • Is it that His 'years are throughout all generations,' and 'my days are as an handbreadth'?

  • A handbreadth of basis is enough for me, if it be actually basis and ground!

    Thus Spake Zarathustra

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • By what looked like a handbreadth, we cleared each other, and the race continued.

  • The room is so richly decorated that scarce a handbreadth of the surface is free from ornament.

    Southern Spain

    A.F. Calvert

  • Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; my age before thee is as nothing; and every man at his best estate is vanity.

British Dictionary definitions for handbreadth



  1. the width of a hand used as an indication of length
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