At Hand

Also:
Close at hand
Near at hand

Meaning of Idiom ‘At Hand’

1. To be at hand means to be nearby; within easy reach and ready to use. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.2McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002

2. In reference to time, soon to occur. See also on hand, definition 3. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples Of Use

“The first step to any project is to make sure all your tools are close at hand.”

“The advantage of living in the city is that everything you need is near at hand.”

“The preacher is very fire and brimstone. He’s always saying the end times are at hand.”

At hand idiom meaning

Origin

The reference here is fairly clear, alluding to being able to reach out and touch something. The first use dates from the 1300s. The second use dates from at least the 1600s and appears in the King James Bible, such as Matthew 4:17:

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The reference is to the coming of the kingdom of heaven, rather than to any sense of nearness.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002