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hand-me-down

[hand-mee-doun, han-] /ˈhænd miˌdaʊn, ˈhæn-/
noun
1.
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.
2.
any item not new that is or can be used again:
Our office furniture was a collection of hand-me-downs.
adjective
3.
passed along for further use by others:
some hand-me-down clothes from my older brother.
4.
borrowed or adapted from other sources; derivative:
a street full of hand-me-down architecture.
Origin of hand-me-down
1870-1875
1870-75
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hand-me-down
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have no hand-me-down solution for that; it is the biggest problem that I know of, and I can venture only some suggestions.

  • It was, in all its sad irony, the vulgar "hand-me-down that!"

  • That's the flat truth, and I'd like to shake your Jake Kasker out of his suit of hand-me-down clothing.

    Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls Edith Van Dyne (AKA L. Frank Baum)
  • He was of medium height, dressed fairly well in a hand-me-down, and sported a flaming red necktie.

    Edith and John Franklin S. Farquhar
  • You're so bloody sane and smug you with your secondhand suit and hand-me-down knowledge!

    The Short Life Francis Donovan
  • The Socialist cook exchanged his greasy dungarees for a pair of hand-me-down creaseless serge pants.

    The Flying Bo'sun Arthur Mason
  • For decades, collar-buttons have been on the hand-me-down shelves of humor; it is a mistake in the catalogue.

    Seventeen Booth Tarkington
  • Because the hand-me-down knowledge is no longer backed by the mental capacity of a Challon.

    The Short Life Francis Donovan
British Dictionary definitions for hand-me-down

hand-me-down

noun (informal)
1.
  1. something, esp an outgrown garment, passed down from one person to another
  2. (as modifier): a hand-me-down dress
2.
  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
adj.

as a modifier, attested by 1826.

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

hand-me-down

modifier

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

noun

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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Difficulty index for hand-me-down

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hand

8
8
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