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Hand vs. Arm: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
The hand is the part of the limb beyond the wrist, consisting of the palm and fingers, while the arm extends from the shoulder to the wrist.
Hand vs. Arm

Key Differences

The hand is a complex structure at the end of the forearm, consisting of the palm, fingers, and thumb, designed for dexterity and manipulation. The arm, however, is the part of the upper limb extending from the shoulder to the elbow and then to the wrist, supporting and positioning the hand.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023
Functionally, the hand is specialized for tasks that require precision, such as writing or gripping objects. The arm, in contrast, provides the necessary strength and range of motion to move the hand to various positions, assisting in actions like lifting or throwing.
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Anatomically, the hand is comprised of numerous small bones, muscles, and joints that allow for its intricate movements and sensitivity. The arm consists of larger structures like the humerus, ulna, and radius, and is designed for stability and leverage.
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In terms of sensory input, the hand contains a high concentration of nerve endings, making it highly sensitive to touch, temperature, and pain. The arm, while also sensitive, has fewer nerve endings per area compared to the hand, focusing more on proprioceptive feedback for movement.
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Shumaila Saeed
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The hand's role in human evolution has been crucial for tool use and communication, such as in sign language. The arm's development has been integral in enabling the hand's placement and movement, crucial for tasks ranging from hunting to modern technological interactions.
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Dec 01, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Anatomical Location

Extends from the wrist to the fingertips
Extends from the shoulder to the wrist
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Dec 01, 2023

Function

Precision tasks, dexterity, manipulation
Strength, range of motion, support
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Anatomy

Consists of palm, fingers, small bones and muscles
Includes humerus, ulna, radius, larger muscles
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Sensory Input

High concentration of nerve endings for sensitivity
Fewer nerve endings, focused on movement
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Role in Evolution

Tool use, communication (e.g., sign language)
Enables hand placement and movement for various tasks
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Hand and Arm Definitions

Hand

The hand is the end part of the arm, consisting of the palm, fingers, and thumb.
She wore a ring on her left hand.
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Arm

Arm is also used in the context of weaponry, as in firearms.
The soldiers were ordered to arm themselves.
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Hand

The hand is an anatomical structure composed of phalanges, metacarpals, and carpal bones.
The hand's intricate structure allows for complex movements.
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Arm

An upper limb of the human body, connecting the hand and wrist to the shoulder.
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Hand

Hand is also used metaphorically to denote assistance or involvement.
She offered a helping hand with the project.
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Arm

A part similar to a human arm, such as the forelimb of an animal or a long part projecting from a central support in a machine.
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Hand

In measurements, 'hand' is a unit used to measure the height of horses.
The horse was 15 hands tall.
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Arm

Something, such as a sleeve on a garment or a support on a chair, that is designed to cover or support the human arm.
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Hand

The terminal part of the human arm located below the forearm, used for grasping and holding and consisting of the wrist, palm, four fingers, and an opposable thumb.
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Arm

A relatively narrow extension jutting out from a large mass:an arm of the sea.
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Hand

A homologous or similar part in other animals, as the terminal part of the forelimb in certain vertebrates.
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Arm

An administrative or functional branch, as of an organization.
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Hand

A unit of length equal to 4 inches (10.2 centimeters), used especially to specify the height of a horse.
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Arm

Power or authority:the long arm of the law.
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Hand

Any of the rotating pointers used as indexes on the face of a mechanical clock.
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Arm

(Sports)The skill of throwing or pitching a ball well.
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Hand

A pointer, as on a gauge or dial.
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Arm

A weapon, especially a firearm
Troops bearing arms.
ICBMs, bombs, and other nuclear arms.
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Hand

(Printing)See index.
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Arm

A branch of a military force
Infantry, armor, and other combat arms.
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Hand

Lateral direction indicated according to the way in which one is facing
At my right hand.
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Arm

Warfare
A call to arms against the invaders.
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Hand

A style or individual sample of writing.
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Arm

Military service
Several million volunteers under arms.
The profession of arms.
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Hand

A signature
Put my hand to the contract.
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Arm

(Heraldry) Bearings.
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Hand

A round of applause to signify approval.
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Arm

Insignia, as of a state, an official, a family, or an organization.
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Hand

Physical assistance; help
Gave me a hand with the bags.
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Arm

To supply or equip oneself with weaponry.
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Hand

Hands Sports A hand ball in soccer.
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Arm

To prepare oneself for warfare or conflict.
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Hand

The cards held in a card game by a given player at any time.
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Arm

To equip with weapons
Armed themselves with loaded pistols.
Arm a missile with a warhead.
Arm a nation for war.
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Hand

The number of cards dealt each player; the deal.
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Arm

To equip with what is needed for effective action
Tax advisers who were armed with the latest forms.
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Hand

A player or participant in a card game
We need a fourth hand for bridge.
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Arm

To provide with something that strengthens or protects
A space reentry vehicle that was armed with a ceramic shield.
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Hand

A portion or section of a game during which all the cards dealt out are played
A hand of poker.
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Arm

To prepare (a weapon or electronic system, such as an alarm) for use or operation, as by releasing a safety device.
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Hand

One who performs manual labor
A factory hand.
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Arm

The portion of the upper human appendage, from the shoulder to the wrist and sometimes including the hand.
She stood with her right arm extended and her palm forward to indicate “Stop!”
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Hand

One who is part of a group or crew
The ship's hands.
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Arm

(anatomy) The extended portion of the upper limb, from the shoulder to the elbow.
The arm and forearm are parts of the upper limb in the human body.
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Hand

A participant in an activity, often one who specializes in a particular activity or pursuit
An old hand at labor negotiations.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

A limb, or locomotive or prehensile organ, of an invertebrate animal.
The arms of an octopus
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Hand

The degree of immediacy of a source of information; degree of reliability
Heard the scandalous tale at third hand.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

The part of a piece of clothing that covers the arm.
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Hand

The strength or force of one's position
Negotiated from a strong hand.
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Arm

A long, narrow, more or less rigid part of an object extending from the main part or centre of the object, such as the arm of an armchair, a crane, a pair of spectacles or a pair of compasses.
The robot arm reached out and placed the part on the assembly line.
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Hand

Often hands Possession, ownership, or keeping
The books should be in your hands by noon.
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Arm

(geography) A bay or inlet off a main body of water.
Shelburne Bay is an arm of Lake Champlain.
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Hand

Power; jurisdiction; care
The defendant's fate is in the hands of the jury. Dinner is in the chef's hands.
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Arm

A branch of an organization.
The cavalry arm of the military service
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Hand

Involvement or participation
"In all this was evident the hand of the counterrevolutionaries" (John Reed).
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Arm

(figurative) Power; might; strength; support.
The arm of the law
The secular arm
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Hand

An influence or effect
The manager had a hand in all major decisions.
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Arm

A pitcher
The team needs to sign another arm in the offseason.
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Hand

Evidence of craft or artistic skill
Can see the hand of a genius even in the lighter poems.
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Arm

(genetics) One of the two parts of a chromosome.
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Hand

An aptitude or ability
I tried my hand at decorating.
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Arm

A group of patients in a medical trial.
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Hand

The aesthetic feel or tactile quality of something, such as a fabric, textile, or carpeting, that indicates its fineness, texture, and durability.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

(usually used in the plural) A weapon.
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Hand

A manner or way of performing something
A light hand with makeup.
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Arm

(in the plural) heraldic bearings or insignia.
The Duke's arms were a sable gryphon rampant on an argent field.
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Hand

Permission or a promise, especially a pledge to wed.
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Arm

; hostilities; deeds or exploits of war.
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Hand

A commitment or agreement, especially when sealed by a handshake; one's word
You have my hand on that.
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Arm

To take by the arm; to take up in one's arms.
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Hand

To give or pass with or as if with the hands; transmit
Hand me your keys.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

(transitive) To supply with armour or (later especially) weapons.
The king armed his knights with swords and shields.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To aid, direct, or conduct with the hands
The usher handed the patron to a reserved seat.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

To supply with the equipment, knowledge, authority, or other tools needed for a particular task; to furnish with capability; to equip.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

(Nautical)To roll up and secure (a sail); furl.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

(transitive) To prepare (a tool, weapon, or system) for action; to activate.
Remember to arm the alarm system before leaving for work.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To give (the ball) directly to a teammate, as in football. Often used with off.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

To become prepared for action; to activate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To carry, strike, or propel (the ball) with the hand or arm in violation of the rules in soccer.
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Arm

(transitive) To cover or furnish with a plate, or with whatever will add strength, force, security, or efficiency.
To arm the hit of a sword; to arm a hook in angling
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To make a handoff, as in football. Often used with off.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

(intransitive) To take up weapons; to arm oneself.
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Hand

The part of the forelimb below the forearm or wrist in a human, and the corresponding part in many other animals.
Her hands are really strong.
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Oct 19, 2023

Arm

(transitive) To fit (a magnet) with an armature.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

That which resembles, or to some extent performs the office of, a human hand.
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Arm

; lacking in riches or wealth.
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Hand

A limb of certain animals, such as the foot of a hawk, or any one of the four extremities of a monkey.
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Arm

To be pitied; pitiful; wretched.
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Hand

An index or pointer on a dial; such as the hour and minute hands on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day.
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Arm

The limb of the human body which extends from the shoulder to the hand; also, the corresponding limb of a monkey.
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Hand

That which is, or may be, held in a hand at once.
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Arm

Anything resembling an arm
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Hand

(card games) The set of cards held by a player.
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Arm

Fig.: Power; might; strength; support; as, the secular arm; the arm of the law.
To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

(tobacco manufacturing) A bundle of tobacco leaves tied together.
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Arm

A branch of the military service; as, the cavalry arm was made efficient.
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Hand

(collective) A bunch of bananas.
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Arm

To take by the arm; to take up in one's arms.
And make him with our pikes and partisansA grave: come, arm him.
Arm your prize;I know you will not lose him.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

That which has the appearance of, a human hand.
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Arm

To furnish with arms or limbs.
His shoulders broad and strong,Armed long and round.
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Hand

A bunch of bananas, a typical retail amount, where individual fruits are fingers.
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Arm

To furnish or equip with weapons of offense or defense; as, to arm soldiers; to arm the country.
Abram . . . armed his trained servants.
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Hand

In linear measurement:
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Arm

To cover or furnish with a plate, or with whatever will add strength, force, security, or efficiency; as, to arm the hit of a sword; to arm a hook in angling.
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Hand

Four inches, a hand's breadth.
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Arm

Fig.: To furnish with means of defense; to prepare for resistance; to fortify, in a moral sense.
Arm yourselves . . . with the same mind.
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Hand

(obsolete) Three inches.
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Arm

To provide one's self with arms, weapons, or means of attack or resistance; to take arms.
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Hand

A side; part, camp; direction, either right or left.
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Arm

A human limb; technically the part of the superior limb between the shoulder and the elbow but commonly used to refer to the whole superior limb
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Hand

Power of performance; means of execution; ability; skill; dexterity.
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Arm

Any instrument or instrumentality used in fighting or hunting;
He was licensed to carry a weapon
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Hand

(especially in compounds) An agent; a servant, or manual laborer; a workman, trained or competent for special service or duty.
Large farms need many farm hands.
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Arm

An administrative division of some larger or more complex organization;
A branch of Congress
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Hand

A performer more or less skilful.
An old hand at public speaking
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Arm

Any projection that is thought to resemble an arm;
The arm of the record player
An arm of the sea
A branch of the sewer
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Hand

An instance of helping.
Bob gave Alice a hand to move the furniture.
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Arm

The part of an armchair or sofa that supports the elbow and forearm of a seated person
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Hand

Handwriting; style of penmanship.
A good hand
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Arm

The part of a garment that is attached at armhole and provides a cloth covering for the arm
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Hand

A person's autograph or signature.
Given under my Hand and Seal of the State this 1st Day of January, 2010.
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Arm

Prepare oneself for a military confrontation;
The U.S. is girding for a conflict in the Middle East
Troops are building up on the Iraqui border
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Hand

Promise, word.
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Arm

Supply with arms;
The U.S. armed the freedom fighters in Afghanistan
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Hand

Personal possession; ownership.
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Arm

The arm is the upper limb from the shoulder to the elbow and then to the wrist.
He lifted his arm to wave.
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Hand

Management, domain, control.
In safe hands;
In good hands;
He lost his job when the factory changed hands.
With the business back in the founder's hands, there is new hope for the company.
With John in charge of the project, it's in good hands.
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Arm

Arm refers to the part of the body used for lifting and holding things.
She cradled the baby in her arms.
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Hand

Applause.
Give him a hand.
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Arm

In a broader sense, 'arm' can represent power or strength.
The company is an arm of a larger corporation.
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Hand

(historical) A Native American gambling game, involving guessing the whereabouts of bits of ivory or similar, which are passed rapidly from hand to hand.
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Arm

In machinery, an arm can be a lever or a projecting part.
The robot's arm reached out to grab the object.
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Hand

(firearms) The small part of a gunstock near the lock, which is grasped by the hand in taking aim.
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Hand

A whole rhizome of ginger.
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Hand

The feel of a fabric; the impression or quality of the fabric as judged qualitatively by the sense of touch.
This fabric has a smooth, soft hand.
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Hand

(archaic) Actual performance; deed; act; workmanship; agency; hence, manner of performance.
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Hand

(archaic) Agency in transmission from one person to another.
To buy at first hand (from the producer, or when new);
To buy at second hand (when no longer in the producer’s hand, or when not new);
It's not a rumor. I heard it at first hand.
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Oct 19, 2023

Hand

(obsolete) Rate; price.
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Hand

(transitive) To give, pass or transmit with the hand, literally or figuratively.
He handed them the letter.
She handed responsibility over to her deputy.
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Hand

(transitive) To lead, guide, or assist with the hand; to conduct.
To hand a lady into a carriage
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Hand

To manage.
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Hand

To seize; to lay hands on.
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Hand

To pledge by the hand; to handfast.
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Hand

To furl.
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Hand

To cooperate.
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Hand

That part of the fore limb below the forearm or wrist in man and monkeys, and the corresponding part in many other animals; manus; paw. See Manus.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

That which resembles, or to some extent performs the office of, a human hand
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A measure equal to a hand's breadth, - four inches; a palm. Chiefly used in measuring the height of horses.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Side; part; direction, either right or left.
On this hand and that hand, were hangings.
The Protestants were then on the winning hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Power of performance; means of execution; ability; skill; dexterity.
He had a great mind to try his hand at a Spectator.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Actual performance; deed; act; workmanship; agency; hence, manner of performance.
To change the hand in carrying on the war.
Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by my hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

An agent; a servant, or laborer; a workman, trained or competent for special service or duty; a performer more or less skillful; as, a deck hand; a farm hand; an old hand at speaking.
A dictionary containing a natural history requires too many hands, as well as too much time, ever to be hoped for.
I was always reckoned a lively hand at a simile.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Handwriting; style of penmanship; as, a good, bad, or running hand. Hence, a signature.
I say she never did invent this letter;This is a man's invention and his hand.
Some writs require a judge's hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Personal possession; ownership; hence, control; direction; management; - usually in the plural.
Albinus . . . found means to keep in his hands the government of Britain.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Agency in transmission from one person to another; as, to buy at first hand, that is, from the producer, or when new; at second hand, that is, when no longer in the producer's hand, or when not new.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Rate; price.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

That which is, or may be, held in a hand at once
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

The small part of a gunstock near the lock, which is grasped by the hand in taking aim.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A gambling game played by American Indians, consisting of guessing the whereabouts of bits of ivory or the like, which are passed rapidly from hand to hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To give, pass, or transmit with the hand; as, he handed them the letter.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To lead, guide, or assist with the hand; to conduct; as, to hand a lady into a carriage.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To manage; as, I hand my oar.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To seize; to lay hands on.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To pledge by the hand; to handfast.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To furl; - said of a sail.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

To coöperate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

The (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb;
He had the hands of a surgeon
He extended his mitt
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A hired laborer on a farm or ranch;
The hired hand fixed the railing
A ranch hand
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Something written by hand;
She recognized his handwriting
His hand was illegible
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Ability;
He wanted to try his hand at singing
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A position given by its location to the side of an object;
Objections were voiced on every hand
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

The cards held in a card game by a given player at any given time;
I didn't hold a good hand all evening
He kept trying to see my hand
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

One of two sides of an issue;
On the one hand..., but on the other hand...
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A rotating pointer on the face of a timepiece;
The big hand counts the minutes
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A unit of length equal to 4 inches; used in measuring horses;
The horse stood 20 hands
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A member of the crew of a ship;
All hands on deck
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A card player in a game of bridge;
We need a 4th hand for bridge
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

A round of applause to signify approval;
Give the little lady a great big hand
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Terminal part of the forelimb in certain vertebrates (e.g. apes or kangaroos);
The kangaroo's forearms seem undeveloped but the powerful five-fingered hands are skilled at feinting and clouting
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Physical assistance;
Give me a hand with the chores
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Place into the hands or custody of;
Hand me the spoon, please
Turn the files over to me, please
He turned over the prisoner to his lawyers
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Guide or conduct or usher somewhere;
Hand the elderly lady into the taxi
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Hand

Hand refers to the grasping and manipulating organ at the forearm's end.
He used his hand to pick up the pen.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What are the major bones in the arm?

The major bones in the arm are the humerus, radius, and ulna.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is the primary function of the hand?

The hand primarily functions for dexterity and manipulation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How many bones are in the human hand?

The human hand consists of 27 bones.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can the hand function independently of the arm?

The hand relies on the arm for positioning but can perform many functions independently.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How do the hand and arm work together?

The arm positions the hand, while the hand performs detailed tasks.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What role does the elbow play in arm movement?

The elbow is a hinge joint allowing the arm to bend and straighten.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can the hand perform tasks requiring strength?

While capable, the hand is less suited for strength tasks compared to the arm.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is the main role of the arm?

The arm provides strength and movement to position the hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Do the arm and hand have the same range of motion?

No, the hand has a greater range of complex movements compared to the arm.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is unique about the hand's sensitivity?

The hand's high concentration of nerve endings makes it extremely sensitive to touch.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting the nerves in the wrist and hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Is the hand's structure unique among primates?

The human hand's structure is unique, particularly in its ability for precision grip.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What injuries commonly affect the arm?

Common arm injuries include fractures, sprains, and muscle strains.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Is the arm more muscular than the hand?

Yes, the arm generally has larger and stronger muscles compared to the hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

What is the significance of the thumb in the hand?

The thumb provides opposability, crucial for grip and dexterity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Can the hand be used as a tool?

Yes, the hand functions effectively as a tool for various tasks.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Are the nerves in the hand different from the arm?

The nerves in the hand are more focused on fine sensation, while arm nerves prioritize movement.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Are hand and arm exercises important?

Yes, exercises are important for maintaining strength and flexibility in the hand and arm.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How does aging affect the arm and hand?

Aging can reduce strength and dexterity in both the arm and hand.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

How does the shoulder joint impact arm movement?

The shoulder joint allows a wide range of motion for the arm.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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