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hand something down(to someone)
1. Lit. to pass something to a person on a lower level. Hand this wrench down to the man under the sink. Please hand down this wrench.
2. Fig. to give something to a younger person. (Either at death or during life.) John handed his old shirts down to his younger brother. I hope my uncle will hand down his golf clubs to me when he dies.
3. Fig. to announce or deliver a (legal) verdict or indictment. The grand jury handed seven indictments down last week. The jury handed down a guilty verdict.
hand down somethingalso hand something down
1. to give something to a younger member of a family Fewer and fewer small farms are handed down from one generation to the next. My grandfather handed his toy trains down to my father.
Usage notes: sometimes said about people who are not related: He believes that confidence cannot be handed down from your coach or anyone else.
2. (slightly formal) to announce a decision in a trial After a three-month trial, the jury handed down a guilty verdict.Related vocabulary: hands down
Etymology: both meanings come from the idea of someone older or in authority literally handing something to someone smaller or less important
1. Bequeath to one's heirs, as in The silver and jewels have been handed down from generation to generation in that family . [Late 1600s]
2. Make and pronounce an official decision, especially the verdict of a court. For example, The judge wasted no time in handing down a sentence of contempt of court. [First half of 1900s] Also see hand on; hand over.
1. To pass something down from a higher level to a lower one: Please hand that vase down to me while you're up there. The worker on the scaffold handed down the paint can to the assistant.
2. To pass something on to someone, especially a younger relative: My older brother hands all his old clothes down to me. My aunt handed down her necklaces to me. The house has been handed down from generation to generation.
3. To make and pronounce an official decision, especially a court verdict: The jury handed down the verdict. The court handed a decision down yesterday.