9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hand-mee-doun, han-] /ˈhænd miˌdaʊn, ˈhæn-/
an article of clothing passed on to another person after being used, outgrown, etc.:
The younger children wore the hand-me-downs of the older ones.
any item not new that is or can be used again:
Our office furniture was a collection of hand-me-downs.
passed along for further use by others:
some hand-me-down clothes from my older brother.
borrowed or adapted from other sources; derivative:
a street full of hand-me-down architecture.
Origin of hand-me-down
1870-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hand-me-down
  • In both cities, children hobble all day on old hand-me-down crutches, dragging their withered limbs behind them.
  • In poor farm villages of the drylands, children wear rubber flip-flops or often-repaired hand-me-down shoes.
  • Maybe not your hand-me-down high-school jalopy, but that first new vehicle you bought.
  • He concluded that this circuit is an shared evolutionary hand-me-down from our last common ancestor.
  • He is the newest employee in the office, and seems to have all the hand-me-down equipment.
  • Work relief sewing rooms renovated hand-me-down clothing.
  • Be especially careful to avoid used or hand-me-down toys for children under three.
  • She would transform hand-me-down clothes given to us into good, wearable garments.
British Dictionary definitions for hand-me-down


noun (informal)
  1. something, esp an outgrown garment, passed down from one person to another
  2. (as modifier): a hand-me-down dress
  1. anything that has already been used by another
  2. (as modifier): hand-me-down ideas
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 hand-me-down

as a modifier, attested by 1826.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hand-me-down



: apair of hand-me-down pants/ fetch-me-down ski boots


Something, esp clothing, used by one person and then passed to another, esp to a younger sibling: I wore mostly my brother's hand-me-downs (1874+)

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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