bare hands, with one's

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with (one's) bare hands

Using only one's hands. The term typically means without tools, etc., but can also mean without the machinery that would normally be expected to be used in the task being discussed. We had no shovel so we dug the hole with our bare hands. Can you believe she sanded all that wood with her bare hands, using only sandpaper?
See also: bare, hand

bare hands, with one's

With one's hands but without tools, weapons, or other implements. For example, Jean assembled the new stove with her bare hands. This phrase, first recorded in 1604, extends the literal meaning, "with uncovered (that is, without gloves) and hence unprotected hands," to "unaided by implements."
See also: bare
References in periodicals archive ?
The model had many subtle details that were invisible to the naked eye but could be felt with bare hands.
But ice-cold metal can freeze your skin if you touch it with bare hands.
There I seized my soul-fever with bare hands and hurled it back blazing upon the lap of Consuming Fire.
It looks as though a jemmy was used because you would not be able to do that with bare hands.
A continent that broke the chains of communist rule in 1989, tearing down the Berlin Wall with bare hands, is now facing the curtain being re-hung.
Elsewhere in the capital, in scenes that recalled the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing, hundreds of students surrounded armored personnel carriers of Mobutu's Presidential Guard, immobilizing the vehicles as they slapped their metal sides with bare hands and harangued the soldiers to help them sweep Mobutu from power.