a gripping and shaking of right hands by two individuals, as to symbolize greeting, congratulation, agreement, or farewell.
Also hand·shak·ing. Computers. an exchange of predetermined signals between a computer and a peripheral device or another computer, made when a connection is initially established or at intervals during data transmission, in order to assure proper synchronization.

Origin of handshake

First recorded in 1870–75; hand + shake
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for handshake

Contemporary Examples of handshake

Historical Examples of handshake

  • Adams gratefully protracted the handshake that accompanied these inquiries.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • There was no possibility of anything further between them, not even a handshake.


    Emile Zola

  • Moore seemed enraptured at the handshake and breathless over the occasion.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • And now I suppose we shall say good-bye without even a handshake.

    The Arrow of Gold

    Joseph Conrad

  • "I believe you," said I, returning his handshake as cordially as he had bestowed it.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

British Dictionary definitions for handshake



the act of grasping and shaking a person's hand, as when being introduced or agreeing on a deal
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 handshake

1801, from hand (n.) + shake (n.). Hand-shaking is attested from 1805.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with handshake


see golden handshake.

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