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1. To hand something to someone who is physically below oneself. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hand" and "down." While you're on the stepstool, can you hand down the cake mix from the top shelf?
2. To announce a decision. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hand" and "down." When do you think the boss will hand down a decision on this issue?
3. To yield or give something to a younger person, often a relative. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hand" and "down." I always have to wear the clothes that my older sisters hand down to me.
Easily, decisively, or without question. The term originates from horse racing, in which jockeys assured of a victory may lower their hold on the reins in the final stretch. This is the best pie I've ever had, hands down! We were really unprepared for our last game, and the other team won hands down.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
easily; unquestionably. She won the contest hands down. They declared her the winner hands down.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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. Also, in a breeze; in a walk. Easily, without effort, as in She won the election hands down, or They won in a breeze, 10-0, or The top players get through the first rounds of the tournament in a walk. All of these expressions originated in sports. Hands down, dating from the mid-1800s, comes from horse racing, where jockeys drop their hands downward and relax their hold when they are sure to win. In a breeze, first recorded in a baseball magazine in 1910, alludes to the rapid and easy passage of moving air; in a walk, also from baseball, alludes to taking a base on balls, that is, reaching first base without having hit a pitched ball because of the pitcher's mistakes.
2. Unquestionably, without a doubt, as in Hands down, it was the best thing I've ever done.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
hands down(especially of winning) easily and decisively.
Originally a horse-racing expression, win hands down meant that a jockey was so certain of victory in the closing stages of a race that he could lower his hands, thereby relaxing his hold on the reins and ceasing to urge on his horse.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
mod. easily; unquestionably. She won the contest hands down.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
1. With no trouble; easily.
2. Indisputably; unquestionably.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Easily, without effort. The term comes from racing, where a jockey may drop his hands and relax his hold on the reins when he is sure to win the race. Dating from the mid-nineteenth century, the term still is used with regard to various kinds of competition, as in, “She won the nomination hands down.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer