with (one's) bare hands

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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

with your bare hands

COMMON If you do something with your bare hands, you do it without using any weapons or tools. If I thought you'd hurt him, I'd kill you now with my bare hands. Rescue workers and residents were digging through tonnes of mud with their bare hands yesterday in search of survivors. Note: You can also say that someone does something bare-handed. A man has wrestled a two-metre crocodile bare-handed in a north Queensland river to save his pet dog from its jaws. Note: This expression is used to emphasize that the thing done is difficult or dangerous.
See also: bare, hand

with your bare ˈhands

with your hands only, without any tools or weapons: He said he’d killed a crocodile with his bare hands!
See also: bare, hand
References in classic literature ?
He would see mothers from English farms trudging along with their infants in their arms, when the child would be stricken with fever and would die; the mother would pause to dig a hole in the loose earth with her bare hands, would bury the babe therein with the same natural grave-tools, shed one tear, and again trudge on.
Blood oozed out as she pressed deep into my groin with her bare hands.
Piers was clearly affronted by her comments, saying: "That seems to be a direct threat on my personage, a clear suggestion that the person who occupies the studio just through that plywood may at any moment, launch herself at me with her bare hands and try and kill me."
Meanwhile, a state of rage has spread among social media users, as one of El-Sheikh Zayed City, residents, near 6 October, was poisoned as she was trying to pick up all the poisoned food with her bare hands before any of hungry cats and dogs in the streets eat it.
In Iraq, a female ISIS doctor was executed for having treated a fellow ISIS fighter with her bare hands. Merely showing a bare female hand is a crime in ISIS' brand of Islam.
A Russian woman froze to a railway track after she fell in temperatures of -30C and grabbed the metal track with her bare hands. The 62-year-old slipped as she walked across the railway tracks in western Siberia, but when she tried to get up she found her bare hand had stuck to the track in the cold.
When wife Gill saw him rolling on the ground in agony, she waded in with her bare hands.
But if Nell were to go down to O'Connell Street and tear a phone book apart with her bare hands while quoting from the above monologue - that would do a lot for world humour.
"I think we brought this on ourselves," she says, plucking a drone from a hive with her bare hands. "But I've finally learned, after years and years, that you can be tough on bees." CONTACT: American Beekeeping Federation, (912) 427-4233, www.abfnet.org; American Honey Producers Association, (530)549-3500, www.americanhoney producers.org.--Caroline Cummins
Tallulah can take a deer down with her bare hands. She is tough.
She did better than that - at one stage leading the event after holding her boat together with her bare hands.
THIS is the grisly moment EastEnder Sam Mitchell unearths Dirty Den's body with her bare hands.
It set the woman's frizzy hair alight, but the fire was patted out by a pupil with her bare hands.
The mother severed the umbilical cord with her bare hands, but the infant slipped out of her hands and fell through the toilet on to the tracks below.