What does handful mean?

Definitions for handful
ˈhænd fʊlhand·ful

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word handful.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. handful, smatteringnoun

    a small number or amount

    "only a handful of responses were received"

  2. handful, fistfulnoun

    the quantity that can be held in the hand


  1. handfulnoun

    A person, task, or situation, which is the most that one can manage; as, my two-year-old is a handful.


  1. handfulnoun

    As much as the hand will grasp or contain. - Joseph Addison

  2. handfulnoun

    A hand's breadth; four inches.

    Knap the tongs together about a handful from the bottom. - Francis Bacon

  3. handfulnoun

    A small quantity, usually approximately equal to five, the number of fingers on a hand.

    This handful of men were tied to very hard duty. - Fuller

  4. handfulnoun

    Something which can only be managed with difficulty.

    Those twins are a real handful to look after.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Handfulnoun

    Etymology: hand and full.

    In the park I saw a country gentleman at the side of Rosamond’s pond, pulling a handful of oats out of his pocket, and gathering the ducks about him. Freeholder, №. 44.

    Take one vessel of silver and another of wood, each full of water, and knap the tongs together about an handful from the bottom, and the sound will be more resounding from the vessel of silver than that of wood. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    The peaceful scabbard where it dwelt,
    The rancour of its edge had felt;
    For of the lower end two handful
    It had devour’d, it was so manful. Hudibras, p. i.

    Being in possession of the town, they had their handful to defend themselves from firing. Walter Raleigh, Apology.

    He could not, with such a handful of men, and without cannon, propose reasonably to fight a battle. Edward Hyde.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Handfulnoun

    as much as the hand will grasp or contain

  2. Handfulnoun

    a hand's breadth; four inches

  3. Handfulnoun

    a small quantity

  4. Etymology: [AS. handfull.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. handful

    Used figuratively, in a military sense, to denote a comparatively small number; as, “a handful of men.”

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'handful' in Nouns Frequency: #2326

How to pronounce handful?

How to say handful in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of handful in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of handful in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of handful in a Sentence

  1. Barack Obama:

    The kind of violence, looting, destruction that we saw from a handful of individuals in Baltimore, there's no excuse for that, that's not a statement, that's not politics, that's not activism, it's just criminal behavior.

  2. Matt Kaufler:

    Years of inventory that they can exploit going forward in a low cost fashion is certainly better than just having a handful of years.

  3. James Lankford:

    There's a handful of people who have been here before, seen impeachment up close and personally. It's not a theory for them. There's only been two of these (previously) in the history of the country and they were in one of them.

  4. Michael Lanza:

    They are in charge of the school, they should be ensuring the exclusion rules are being followed. And so, if they have a handful of unvaccinated children, that fine would increase in magnitude.

  5. Richard Isaacson:

    A handful of the most respected scientists and researchers in our field have completely different opinions, whatever the decision is, it's a watershed moment for the field of Alzheimer's disease.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for handful

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    not established or confirmed
    • A. soft-witted
    • B. tacky
    • C. adscripted
    • D. unsealed

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