[sing-guh l-han-did]


accomplished or done by one person alone: a single-handed victory; single-handed sailing.
by one's own effort; unaided.


by oneself; alone; without aid: He built the garage single-handed.

Origin of single-handed

First recorded in 1700–10
Related formssin·gle-hand·ed·ness, noun


[sing-guh l-hand]

verb (used with object)

to sail (a craft) without help from others.
Related formssin·gle-hand·er, nounsin·gle-hand·ing, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for single-handed

alone, independent, solitary, solo, unaided, unassisted

Examples from the Web for single-handed

Contemporary Examples of single-handed

Historical Examples of single-handed

  • Johnson, I thank you; you did all you could to save my ship, but single-handed you could not resist.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • "It is a wonderful piece of single-handed bookkeeping," he said to Roden.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The effort was too great for him single-handed, and one of his assistants came to his aid.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Whatever was to be done he must do single-handed—and there was nothing he could do!

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • I went at them single-handed; I went down all alone into the ring, and have they beaten me?

British Dictionary definitions for single-handed


adjective, adverb

unaided or working alonea single-handed crossing of the Atlantic
having or operated by one hand or one person only
Derived Formssingle-handedly, adverbsingle-handedness, noun
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 single-handed

1709, "done alone," from single (adj.) + handed. Meaning "using one hand only" is from 1844. Related: Single-handedly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper