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[hand-saw] /ˈhændˌsɔ/
any common saw with a handle at one end for manual operation with one hand.
Origin of handsaw
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English; see hand, saw1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for handsaw
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Every farmer has an axe or two, some sort of a handsaw and a nail hammer.

    Farm Mechanics Herbert A. Shearer
  • Scott had carried out a handsaw which was kept in the pilot-house in readiness for any emergency, as well as an axe and a hatchet.

    Asiatic Breezes Oliver Optic
  • To know a hawk from a hernshaw is an ancient proverb, sometimes corrupted into handsaw.

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • It has since been corrupted into the absurd vulgar proverb, “not to know a hawk from a handsaw!”

  • In Suffolk and Norfolk it is pronounced harnsa, from which to handsaw is but a single step.

    Folk-lore of Shakespeare Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
  • Men whose sole wealth consisted in an auger, a handsaw, and a gun, were pushing into the prairies and the forests.

    The Conquest Eva Emery Dye
  • In my opinion he was so scairt he couldn't 'a' told a hennock from a handsaw anyway.

    The Light in the Clearing Irving Bacheller
  • Definiteness and finality are as difficult of attainment as to tell a hawk from a handsaw when the wind is northerly.

  • You are sure she picked the handsaw up by the handle, are you?

    Dr. Sevier George W. Cable
British Dictionary definitions for handsaw


any saw for use in one hand only
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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