on (one's) hands

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on (one's) hands

1. 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!
2. In one's possession. I need to take up a hobby or something. I've got too much time on my hands lately!
See also: hand, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*(up)on someone

Fig. to be someone's obligation or responsibility. (*Typically: be ~; lie ~.) The obligation is upon you to settle this. The major part of the responsibility is on you.

*on someone or something

[incriminating or harmful information] about someone or something. (*Typically: get something ~; have something ~; give someone something~.) I've gotten something on Albert that would really shock you. She is trying to get something on her husband so she can divorce him.

on something

 
1. taking a medication. I am on an antibiotic for my chest cold. I want you to be on this drug for another week.
2. taking an illegal drug or controlled substance and acting strangely. What is the matter with that kid? Is he on something? She acted as if she were on barbiturates or something.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.
See also: hand, on
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.

on your hands

COMMON
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.
See also: hand, on
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

on (or off) someone's hands

having (or not having) to be dealt with or looked after by the person specified.
See also: hand, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
See also: hand, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

on

/at the dot
Exactly at the appointed time; punctual or punctually: arrived at nine o'clock on the dot.

on

/at the double
1. Immediately.
2. In double time.

on

/in behalf of
1. As the agent of; on the part of.
2. For the benefit of; in the interest of.

on

/in the street
1. Without a job; idle.
2. Without a home; homeless.
3. Out of prison; at liberty.

on

/into/down the wind Nautical
In the same or nearly the same direction as the wind.

on

/under pain of
Subject to the penalty of (a specified punishment, such as death).

on

/upon (one's) hands
In one's possession, often as an imposed responsibility or burden: Now they have the grandchildren on their hands.

on

/upon request
When asked for: References are available on request.

on

/upon the heels of
1. Directly behind.
2. Immediately following.

on

(one's)/the way
In the process of coming, going, or traveling: She is on her way out the door. Winter is on the way.

on

its/someone's ear
In a state of amazement, excitement, or uproar: a controversial movie that set the film industry on its ear.
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.
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