Definition of handful in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhan(d)fʊl/
Pronunciation: /ˈhan(d)f(ə)l/

noun (plural handfuls)

1A quantity that fills the hand: a small handful of fresh coriander
More example sentences
  • She buys bags of nuts for them and throws them out in great handfuls that arc gracefully through the air and drop on the grass with the patter of tiny nut projectiles.
  • Expectant youngsters caught handfuls of kitchels at the Harwich's historic mayor-making ceremony.
  • Two robbers claiming to be armed with knives robbed a jewellery store stealing handfuls of expensive chains and rings.
1.1A small number or amount: only a handful of people were in the pub
More example sentences
  • They know the elusive swing voters scattered in a handful of key states want moderation, not aggression.
  • They were replaced by a distant silver moon and a handful of scattered shiny stars.
  • Despite having a fair amount of interest only a handful of people took the plunge.
a small number, a small amount, a small quantity, a sprinkling, a smattering, a scattering, a trickle;
a few, one or two, several, some, not many
2 informal A person or group that is very difficult to deal with or control: the kids could be such a handful
More example sentences
  • He is a good fighter and was a rough handful, but Harry dealt with him very well.
  • The hound has to be a real character who tends to be bossy and, maybe, has become too much of a handful for his owners to deal with.
  • He was learning she could be quite a handful, challenging him in ways he did not expect.
nuisance, problem, bother, irritant, source of annoyance, thorn in someone's flesh, thorn in someone's side, bugbear
informal pest, headache, pain, pain in the neck, pain in the backside, blister
Scottish informal nyaff, skelf
North American informal pain in the butt, nudnik, burr under/in someone's saddle
Australian informal fair cow
Australian/New Zealand informal nark
British vulgar slang pain in the arse

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hand|ful

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