On Hand

Meaning of Idiom ‘On Hand’

1. To have something on hand means to have it it one’s possession and available for use; nearby and ready when needed. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.2McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002

 2. When referring to a person, on hand means to be present. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

3. A synonym for at hand when referring to time: imminent; will happen soon. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Usage

The idiom on hand is used chiefly in the following phrases:

To have (something on hand)
To be on hand

Examples Of Use

“We don’t have enough cash on hand to make these improvements,” said Mr. Johnson.

“I always have plenty of coffee on hand. I can’t start my day without it.”

“There are always plenty of parts on hand, so we can make repairs quickly.”

“There is a corporate takeover on hand, and many workers will lose their jobs.”

Origin

Used since at least the mid-1800s.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 3, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002