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[hand-sheyk] /ˈhændˌʃeɪk/
a gripping and shaking of right hands by two individuals, as to symbolize greeting, congratulation, agreement, or farewell.
Also, handshaking. Computers. an exchange of predetermined signals between a computer and a peripheral device or another computer, made when a connection is initially established or at intervals during data transmission, in order to assure proper synchronization.
Origin of handshake
1870-75; hand + shake Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for handshaking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was in the very beginning of the handshaking and there were not so many of them as of us.

    A Woman of Genius Mary Austin
  • No, no, none of your handshaking; you don't get past an old soldier in that way.

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • He amused himself by keeping statistics on the fabulous amount of handshaking accomplished in French business life.

    Home Fires in France Dorothy Canfield
  • Mr. Tidditt rushed away to begin the handshaking all over again.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Here the custom of handshaking was but little known, but the more ancient one of kissing prevailed.

    By Canoe and Dog-Train Egerton Ryerson Young
  • While this handshaking was going on Captain Eri was embarrassed.

    Cap'n Eri Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • It continued to stare, up to the moment when the handshaking took place.

    On Christmas Day In The Evening Grace Louise Smith Richmond
  • These awful audiences did not always end with the handshaking.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
British Dictionary definitions for handshaking


(computing) communication between a computer system and an external device, by which each tells the other that data is ready to be transferred, and that the receiver is ready to accept it


the act of grasping and shaking a person's hand, as when being introduced or agreeing on a deal
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 handshaking



1801, from hand (n.) + shake (n.). Hand-shaking is attested from 1805.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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handshaking in Technology

1. Predetermined hardware or software activity designed to establish or maintain two machines or programs in synchronisation. Handshaking often concerns the exchange of messages or packets of data between two systems with limited buffers. A simple handshaking protocol might only involve the receiver sending a message meaning "I received your last message and I am ready for you to send me another one." A more complex handshaking protocol might allow the sender to ask the receiver if he is ready to receive or for the receiver to reply with a negative acknowledgement meaning "I did not receive your last message correctly, please resend it" (e.g. if the data was corrupted en route).
Hardware handshaking uses voltage levels or pulses on wires to carry the handshaking signals whereas software handshaking uses data units (e.g. ASCII characters) carried by some underlying communication medium.
Flow control in bit-serial data transmission such as EIA-232 may use either hardware or software handshaking.
2. The method used by two modems to establish contact with each other and to agreee on baud rate, error correction and compression protocols.
3. The exchange of predetermined signals between agents connected by a communications channel to assure each that it is connected to the other (and not to an imposter). This may also include the use of passwords and codes by an operator.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with handshaking


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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