There are so many fun phrases involving the word “hand” that I decided it was time to share some. =) I remember several years ago looking up “to know something like the back of one’s hand.” I had a hard time finding it but eventually discovered that it’s from the 1900s, which surprised me. So I had to take that out of the Victorian story . . .
But there are lots of “hand” phrases from way back in the day. It’s had the meaning of “worker” (as in, someone who uses their hands) since the 1580s, and a hired worker since the 1630s. The clock and watch sense is from 1570s.
Yet we didn’t give someone a hand, as in a a round of applause, until 1838.
It was used for the playing cards one person held, and a round in a card game, since 1620.
First hand and second hand information is from the 15th century, following the idea of literally handing information over. On the one hand . . . on the other hand followed by the 1600s, with a notion of weighing something in your hand, or holding two separate things.
Winning something hands down, though, is from the 1830s and is thanks to horse racing–jockeys would release the reins after an easy victory, you see.
Yep, you’ve got to hand it to the word hand (c. 1906 on that one, LOL)–it sure gets around!
On a side note, my first newsletter went out on Friday. If you missed it, you can view it here. And to be sure not to miss it in the future, sign up on my website!
Great newsletter, Ro. Sorry I haven't been in touch much. Enjoying first grandson way too much! 🙂
Carole, I was literally JUST thinking about you! Hopped over to your Facebook page to try to get an update, as a matter of fact. =) Good to hear from you, friend o' mine! But of course, I understand the joys of a new little one. =) A perfect excuse for not being in touch online!! Have fun with the little guy!
I can't believe your groupie (i.e. ME) wasn't signed up for your newsletter LOL. Fixed that – and went and read it. Looking forward to more – and LOVED this post.
It is so fascinating to see how a words have evolved and changed over the years. The origin of words is equally as intriguing. Like the words snob. I love that post.
Thank you for sharing and enlightening us!
(And I also enjoyed your newsletter!)
Groupie, you're totally slacking! 😉 Phew, glad you took care of that oversight or you might have to give your title to someone else, LOL.
Isn't it? Ah yes . . . proof you're a word nerd. And in good company, LOL.
A bit strange but a wonderful kind. I love knowing the history of words it gives you so many insights and background to the time period, the word, the cultures, both then and now.
What?!? How did I miss signing up! Rectifying immediately…