noun Informal.
a portion of food or the like given to a needy person, as a beggar.
any printed, typed, mimeographed, or photocopied copy of information, as a speech, policy statement, or fact sheet given to reporters, attendees at a meeting, or the like.
anything given away for nothing, as a free sample of a product by an advertiser.

1825–35; 1940–45 for def 2; noun use of verb phrase hand out

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

"alms or food given to a beggar," 1882, hobo slang, from hand (v.) + out.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

handout definition

  1. n.
    a gift of money, food, or other goods to a needy person. (Often in the negative, as in the examples.) : Give him a handout and send him on his way.
  2. n.
    an informational sheet of paper “handed out” to people. : As you can see on your handout, 40 percent of those who started never finished.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
As long as people are given a handout they will not exert themselves, or become accountable and responsible for their own actions.
In this handout, the data has been sorted from lowest to highest state elevation.
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