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handful

[hand-foo l] /ˈhænd fʊl/
noun, plural handfuls.
1.
the quantity or amount that the hand can hold:
a handful of coins.
2.
a small amount, number, or quantity:
a handful of men.
3.
Informal. a person or thing that is as much as one can manage or control:
The baby's tantrums made him a handful.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English, Old English. See hand, -ful
Usage note
See -ful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for handfuls

handful

/ˈhændfʊl/
noun (pl) -fuls
1.
the amount or number that can be held in the hand
2.
a small number or quantity
3.
(informal) a person or thing difficult to manage or control
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 handfuls

handful

n.

Old English handful; see hand (n.) + -ful. Originally the quality that can be held in a hand; also a medieval linear measurement of four inches. Meaning "a small portion or part" is from c.1400. Figurative meaning "as much as one can manage" is from 1755.

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

handful

noun
  1. A five-year prison sentence or term (1930+ Underworld)
  2. A great deal to manage; burdensome task: That kid of yours is a handful (1887+)
Related Terms

grab a handful of air


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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Word Value for handfuls

15
17
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