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[han-dee] /ˈhæn di/
adjective, handier, handiest.
within easy reach; conveniently available; accessible:
The aspirins are handy.
convenient or useful:
A typewriter is a handy thing to have in the house.
skillful with the hands; deft; dexterous:
a handy person.
easily maneuvered:
a handy ship.
Origin of handy
1275-1325; Middle English (in surnames); see hand, -y1
Related forms
handiness, noun
3. all-round; versatile. See dexterous. 4. manageable, wieldy; yare. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for handiness
Historical Examples
  • Jibs became universal, adding greatly to handiness in general and the power of tacking in particular.

    All Afloat William Wood
  • No doubt he slipped in and out with almost the handiness with which one might crack a whip.

    Woodcraft Alan Douglas
  • What the Basutus gain in art and handiness they lose in manliness and gentlemanly feeling.

  • I've heard about your handiness with the thrust buckets on the cruisers.

    Danger in Deep Space Carey Rockwell
  • He saw, at a glance, that a native adroitness and handiness made the task to her an easier one than it proved to many.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • When the 'Ariel'—for so they called her—arrived, the friends were delighted with her speed and handiness.

    Shelley Sydney Waterlow
  • It has long been superseded by the Aneroid, which far exceeds it in handiness.

  • At the time I thought he was joking—that I had seen the extreme limit that morning of the "handiness" of the modern destroyer.

    To Kiel in the 'Hercules' Lewis R. Freeman
  • I reckon about the best one left for soil and handiness, but there ain't no mill timber on it.

    From Chart House to Bush Hut Charles W. L. Bryde
  • My handiness with the ropes, when I volunteered to help in hoisting sail, surprised and even perplexed him.

    The Adventures of Harry Revel Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
British Dictionary definitions for handiness


adjective handier, handiest
conveniently or easily within reach
easy to manoeuvre, handle, or use: a handy tool
skilful with one's hands
Derived Forms
handiness, noun


W(illiam) C(hristopher). 1873–1958, US blues musician and songwriter, esp noted for the song "St Louis Blues"
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
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Word Origin and History for handiness



c.1300, "skilled with the hands" (implied in surnames), from hand (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "conveniently accessible" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with handiness


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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