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From Middle English handy, hondi (attested in personal names), alteration of earlier hendi (“handy, skillful”), from Old English hendi? (“skillful”) (as in listhendi? (“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 h?ndugr (“efficient”), Gothic ??????? (handugs, “wise, clever”). Akin to Dutch handig (“handy”), Norwegian hendig (“handy”), Swedish händig (“handy”).
- Easy to use, useful.
- Nearby, within reach.
- Of a person: dexterous, skilful.
- (slang) Physically violent; tending to use one's fists.
- Of a freight ship: having a small cargo capacity (less than 40,000 DWT); belonging to the handysize class.
hand + -y (“diminutive suffix”)
handy (plural handies)
- (vulgar, slang) A hand job.