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.
noun (pluralhandfuls; alsohandsful) 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>
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.
(handfuls) 1. A handfulof 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 handfulof 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