What does handful mean?

Definitions for handful
ˈhænd fʊlhand·ful

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage 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.


  1. handful

    A handful generally refers to the amount or number of something that can fit or be held in one hand. It can also be used figuratively to describe a person, task, or situation that is difficult to manage or control.

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. House Republicans:

    Senate Republicans must hold firm and not even entertain the thought of offering a handful of reforms that the Biden administration would eventually bend or ignore in exchange for a bill like this, we expect them to make that clear today.

  2. Jay Faison:

    In these races and a handful of other House and Senate races, we're going to play offense around candidates that take a stand on these issues.

  3. Elizabeth Warren:

    ( Trump) announced that only a handful of people had died as a result of the hurricanes and, of course, congratulated President Donald Trump on that.

  4. Mike Pompeo:

    Now is the time for all of us, the State Department and others to deliver, to implement the agreement between President Trump and Chairman Kim, to think this would happen in the course of a handful of hours would have been ludicrous.

  5. George Magnus:

    I think it's untrue to say that companies are leaving China, though it's possible that a handful may have done. What has been happening on a significant scale is that many firms have been moving, or plan to move, some of their supply chain operations out of China to avoid tariffs, and or to go to places where they sense greater political and policy stability.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for handful

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"handful." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/handful>.

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    an attendant who carries the golf clubs for a player
    A caddie
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