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Handful definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

HAND'FUL, n. As much as the hand will grasp or contain.
1. As much as the arms will embrace.
2. A palm; four inches.
3. A small quantity or number. A handful of men.
4. As much as can be done; full employment.
In America, the phrase is,he has his hands full.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a small number or amount; "only a handful of responses were received" [syn: handful, smattering]
2: the quantity that can be held in the hand [syn: handful, fistful]

Merriam Webster's

noun (plural handfuls; also handsful) Date: before 12th century 1. as much or as many as the hand will grasp 2. a small quantity or number <a handful of people> 3. as much as one can manage <the kids are quite a handful>

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. (pl. -fuls) 1 a quantity that fills the hand. 2 a small number or amount. 3 colloq. a troublesome person or task.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Handful Hand"ful, n.; pl. Hand flus. [AS. handfull.] 1. As much as the hand will grasp or contain. --Addison. 2. A hand's breadth; four inches. [Obs.] Knap the tongs together about a handful from the bottom. --Bacon. 3. A small quantity. This handful of men were tied to very hard duty. --Fuller. To have one's handful, to have one's hands full; to have all one can do. [Obs.] They had their handful to defend themselves from firing. --Sir. W. Raleigh.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(handfuls) 1. A handful of people or things is a small number of them. He surveyed the handful of customers at the bar... N-SING: usu N of n 2. A handful of something is the amount of it that you can hold in your hand. She scooped up a handful of sand and let it trickle through her fingers. N-COUNT: usu N of n 3. If you say that someone, especially a child, is a handful, you mean that they are difficult to control. (INFORMAL) Zara can be a handful sometimes. N-SING

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

hand'-fool: There are five words in Hebrew used to indicate what may be held in the hand, either closed or open.

(1) chophen, chophnayim. The fist or closed hand occurs in the dual in Ex 9:8, where it signifies what can be taken in the two hands conjoined, a double handful.

(2) kaph, "hollow of the hand," the palm; an open handful (Le 9:17; 1Ki 17:12; Ec 4:6).

(3) `amir, "sheaf or bundle." It signifies the quantity of grain a gleaner may gather in his hand (Jer 9:22 (Hebrew 21)).

(4) qomets, "the closed handful" (Ge 41:47; Le 2:2; 5:12; 6:15 (Hebrew 6:8); Nu 5:26).

(5) sho`al, "the hollow of the hand," or what can be held in it (1Ki 20:10; Eze 13:19). In Isa 40:12 it signifies "measure."

(6) piccah (Ps 72:16) is rendered "handful" by the King James Version, but is properly "abundance" as in the Revised Version (British and American).

H. Porter

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. Maniple.

Moby Thesaurus

Augean task, Herculean task, a few, ace, atom, backbreaker, ballbuster, bit, bitch, bother, chore, couple, dab, dead lift, dole, dot, dram, dribble, driblet, dwarf, farthing, few, fistful, fleck, flyspeck, fragment, gobbet, grain, granule, groat, hair, hard job, hard pull, heavy sledding, iota, jot, large order, limited number, little, little bit, man-sized job, minim, minimum, minutiae, mischief-maker, mite, modicum, molecule, mote, nuisance, nutshell, only a few, ounce, particle, pebble, piddling few, piddling number, pinch, pittance, point, rough go, scattering, scruple, small number, smatter, smattering, smidgen, smitch, spatter, spattering, speck, spoonful, spot, sprinkling, tall order, thimbleful, tiny bit, tittle, too few, tough job, tough proposition, trickle, trifling amount, trivia, troublemaker, uphill work, whit

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