from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Easily or effectively used; convenient or useful.
  • adjective Easy to manage or handle. Used of a ship.
  • adjective Readily accessible or convenient in location.
  • adjective Skillful in using one's hands; manually adroit. synonym: dexterous.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Performed by the hand; manual.
  • Skilful in using the hands; performing with skill or readiness; dexterous; adroit.
  • Marked by readiness or dexterity; deft; facile.
  • Suited to the use of the hand; ready to the hand; convenient; timely: as, my books are very handy; this is a handy tool.
  • [Handy in composition, in some words formed in imitation of handywork, handiwork, is a variant of hand. See following entries.] Synonyms Expert, clever.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Performed by the hand.
  • adjective Skillful in using the hand; dexterous; ready; adroit.
  • adjective Ready to the hand; near; also, suited to the use of the hand; convenient; valuable for reference or use
  • adjective (Naut.) Easily managed; obedient to the helm; -- said of a vessel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Easy to use, useful.
  • adjective Nearby, within reach.
  • adjective dialect dexterous, skilful

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective skillful with the hands
  • noun United States blues musician who transcribed and published traditional blues music (1873-1958)
  • adjective easy to use
  • adjective easy to reach


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, alteration of earlier hendi ("handy, skillful"), from Old English hendiġ ("skillful") (as in listhendiġ ("skilled in art")), from Proto-Germanic *handugaz (“handy, skillful, nimble”), from *handuz (“hand”), equivalent to hand +‎ -y. Cognate with Middle Low German handich ("skillful, apt"), Middle High German handec, hendec ("manual, hand-held"), Old Norse hǫndugr ("efficient"), Gothic 𐌷𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌿𐌲𐍃 (handugs, "wise, clever").


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  • Another time this will come in handy is if you’re cooking at a friend’s home where they don’t stock the same spices that you do, and you’re trying to season a favorite dish.

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  • A fun exercise for intro level physics students is to read a paper that came out in scientific American a few years ago I’m sorry but I don’t have the title handy on MOND.

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  • We have a recording of this conversation, but I’ll keep your name handy so we’ll know who to blame if the facts in your article are wrong.

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  • We have a recording of this conversation, but I’ll keep your name handy so we’ll know who to blame if the facts in your article are wrong.

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  • Their efforts have come in handy for several young children, who reported that they knew how to react when they encountered fire in their own homes.

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  • German for cellphone.

    January 9, 2008