adjective, hand·i·er, hand·i·est.

within easy reach; conveniently available; accessible: The aspirins are handy.
convenient or useful: A typewriter is a handy thing to have in the house.
skillful with the hands; deft; dexterous: a handy person.
easily maneuvered: a handy ship.

Origin of handy

1275–1325; Middle English (in surnames); see hand, -y1
Related formshand·i·ness, noun

Synonyms for handy

Synonym study

3. See dexterous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for handiness

Historical Examples of handiness

  • No doubt he slipped in and out with almost the handiness with which one might crack a whip.


    Alan Douglas

  • He has been invaluable with his sailor's resources and handiness.

    The Daisy Chain

    Charlotte Yonge

  • Despite his cunning and the handiness of his craft, Dick has not always come off scot-free.

    Gwen Wynn

    Mayne Reid

  • I've heard about your handiness with the thrust buckets on the cruisers.

    Danger in Deep Space

    Carey Rockwell

  • When the 'Ariel'—for so they called her—arrived, the friends were delighted with her speed and handiness.


    Sydney Waterlow

British Dictionary definitions for handiness


adjective handier or handiest

conveniently or easily within reach
easy to manoeuvre, handle, or usea handy tool
skilful with one's hands
Derived Formshandiness, noun



W (illiam) C (hristopher). 1873–1958, US blues musician and songwriter, esp noted for the song "St Louis Blues"
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

Word Origin and History for handiness



c.1300, "skilled with the hands" (implied in surnames), from hand (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "conveniently accessible" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with handiness


see come in handy.

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