on (one's) hands
on (one's) hands
Imposed upon one, especially as one's responsibility to confront or manage. I'd come and pick you up, but I've got Jane's kids on my hands this weekend. If the two countries don't stop this antagonistic back-and-forth, we could have a nuclear war on our hands!
on one's hands
1. In one's possession or care, often as a responsibility, as in As long as she had three children on her hands she couldn't get very much accomplished, or They had two houses on their hands because they hadn't sold the first before having to move . This term was first recorded in 1528. For the antonym, see .
2. time on one's hands. Time in which one has nothing necessary to do, free time, as in She has a lot of time on her hands now that the kids have moved out. Also see in one's hands.
on your hands
1. If you have a problem or task on your hands, you have to deal with it. Both teams will have a battle on their hands to stay in the Premier Division. They need to accept that they have a very serious problem on their hands. Note: This expression is generally used to refer to bad or difficult situations. However, it is sometimes used to refer to good situations, for example when you say that someone has a hit or a success on their hands. The record company realized they had a major hit on their hands. Now, three years on, the Barrys have a success story on their hands with a business that employs eight people.
2. If you have a person on your hands, you are responsible for caring for them or dealing with them. I've got tired players on my hands and we are only five weeks into the season. I suddenly had six children on my hands and a whole afternoon to entertain them. Note: You use this expression when the responsibility is likely to be difficult for you. Compare with off your hands.
on (or off) someone's handshaving (or not having) to be dealt with or looked after by the person specified.
on somebody’s ˈhands
1 (of work, etc.) to do: I’ve got a lot of work on my hands at the moment.
2 that somebody is responsible for: I’ve got the neighbour’s children on my hands this afternoon.