Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
1. Nearby; physically within one's reach. Your mother will need you close at hand to help as she makes Thanksgiving dinner. I always keep a glass of water at hand when I sleep, because I hate waking up thirsty.
2. Currently in need of addressing. I know you all want to chat, but we need to focus on the matter at hand—planning next week's assembly. Stop dabbling in other projects and focus on the task at hand.
3. Impending or imminent. After months of planning, I'm thrilled that the event is finally at hand!
close by in time or space. I don't happen to have your application at hand at the moment. With the holiday season at hand, everyone is very excited.
happening or present at this time The space shuttle's crew must stay completely focused on the task at hand. The list includes 21 legal cases, but none of them deal with the issue at hand.
Etymology: from the literal meaning of at hand (easily reached)
1. Also, close or near at hand . Within easy reach, nearby, as in I like to keep my tools close at hand. [1300s]
2. Also, on hand. Nearby in time, soon, as in The day of judgment is at hand, or A change of administration is on hand. Also see on hand.
1. Close by; near.
2. Soon in time; imminent: Retribution is at hand.
3. Under discussion: Let's keep to the matter at hand.