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glad hand

noun, Informal.
a hearty welcome or enthusiastic reception, especially one that is effusive or hypocritical:
Visiting dignitaries were being given the glad hand.
Origin of glad hand


[glad-hand] /ˈglædˌhænd/ Informal.
verb (used with object)
to greet warmly.
to greet in an insincerely effusive manner.
verb (used without object)
to greet others with enthusiasm, especially feigned enthusiasm:
The candidate spent weeks glad-handing around the state.
Related forms
glad-hander, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for glad hand
Historical Examples
  • What Pinckney says seemed to be rules and regulations there, so Rajah and I got the glad hand after that.

    Shorty McCabe Sewell Ford
  • "And maybe we won't get the glad hand when we get over there," murmured Bart.

  • This welcome, this "glad hand," is always extended by society to the honest man as a token of approval.

    Laugh and Live Douglas Fairbanks
  • But the glad hand he gave me started me on the road to ruin.

    Atchoo! George Niblo
  • Yet now the pain is ended And the glad hand grips the sword, Look on thy life amended And deal out due award.

    Poems by the Way William Morris
  • Practical Politics: The glad hand, and a swift kick in the pants.

    The Roycroft Dictionary Elbert Hubbard
  • Garret had halted and was smilingly giving O'Malley the glad hand.

    A Yankee Flier with the R.A.F. Rutherford G. Montgomery
  • "We'll have a look at him, anyway, before we give him the glad hand," Jerry temporized.

    A Woman of Genius Mary Austin
  • When a business rival gives you the glad hand and asks fondly after the children, beware lest the ensuing emotions cost you money.

    A Straight Deal Owen Wister
  • They gave me the glad hand, and asked me if I was going to be the bouncer; if so, I could count on them.

    Dave Ranney Dave Ranney
British Dictionary definitions for glad hand

glad hand

  1. a welcoming hand
  2. a welcome
(transitive) to welcome by or as if by offering a hand
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 glad hand

1895, in verbal phrase to give the glad hand "extend a welcome." As a verb, attested from 1903 (also gladhand). Often used cynically.

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



Effusive and warm; cordial: He gave me that glad-hand business


: After glad-handing the local dignitaries, he heads for the fence (1903+)

Related Terms

give someone the glad hand

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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Idioms and Phrases with glad hand

glad hand

A warm and hearty but often insincere welcome or greeting, as in Politicians are apt to give the glad hand to one and all. [ ; late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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