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invisible hand

noun
1.
(in the economics of Adam Smith) an unseen force or mechanism that guides individuals to unwittingly benefit society through the pursuit of their private interests.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for invisible hand
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The draperies on the wall were drawn aside, as if by an invisible hand.

  • David Rossi gave a start, as if an invisible hand had smitten him.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Then the long desks became the green tables where Flossie gambled with fate; trying—trying—trying to force the invisible hand.

    The Divine Fire May Sinclair
  • He felt as if a heavy, invisible hand had been laid on the top of his head.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • And more than that, it was even cut by an invisible hand, and made into a cake.

  • An invisible hand imprints on my forehead the serenity of innocence.

  • Then, sometimes the curtain stirs and lifts an edge; an invisible hand creeps forth; the soul is touched.

    Incredible Adventures Algernon Blackwood
  • He declared afterwards that some invisible hand had seized his arm.

    Frontier Boys on the Coast Capt. Wyn Roosevelt
invisible hand in Culture

invisible hand definition


A term used by Adam Smith to describe his belief that individuals seeking their economic self-interest actually benefit society more than they would if they tried to benefit society directly. The statement “What's good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa” expresses essentially the same belief.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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