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[fist-foo l] /ˈfɪst fʊl/
noun, plural fistfuls.
a handful:
a fistful of pennies.
Origin of fistful
1605-15; fist1 + -ful
Usage note
See -ful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fistful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The same man who had kicked him handed me a fistful of gold.

    Saragossa Benito Prez Galds
  • I tell you he's given me a fistful of big notes three days ago.

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
  • The General picked up a fistful of the documents which had cost the life of Fernando Rivas.

    The Five Arrows Allan Chase
  • Hand me up a plate and a fistful of ship biscuit, and leave me to deal with 'em.

    Poison Island Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (Q)
  • Nor was the fistful of currency in the other hand to be sneezed at.

    The Oakdale Affair Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • It would have been some satisfaction to buffet the exacting Hardwick with the fistful of money.

  • The Old French form means "skinful" (cf. poignée, fistful), the hounds' reward being spread on the skin of the slain animal.

Word Origin and History for fistful

1610s, from fist (n.) + -ful.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fistful



  1. A handful, usually a large amount: I've got a fistful of overdue bills (1611+)
  2. A large amount of money: The digital stereo set me back a fistful (1950s+)
  3. A five-year prison sentence (1940s+ Underworld)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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