hamster (n.) Look up hamster at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from German Hamster, from Middle High German hamastra "hamster," probably from Old Church Slavonic chomestoru "hamster" (the animal is native to southeastern Europe), which is perhaps a blend of Russian chomiak and Lithuanian staras, both meaning "hamster." The older English name for it was German rat.
hamstring (v.) Look up hamstring at Dictionary.com
1640s, "to disable, render useless," a figurative verbal extension from hamstring (n.) "tendon at the back of the knee." Cutting this would render a person or animal lame. Literal sense of the verb is attested from 1670s. Since it is a verb from a noun-noun compound, hamstrung as a past participle is technically incorrect.
[I]n hamstring, -string is not the verb string; we do not string the ham, but do something to the tendon called the hamstring; the verb, that is, is made not from the two words ham & string, but from the noun hamstring. It must therefore make hamstringed. [Fowler]
hamstring (n.) Look up hamstring at Dictionary.com
"tendon at the back of the knee," 1560s, from ham "bend of the knee" (see ham (n.1)) + string (n.).
Han Look up Han at Dictionary.com
Chinese dynasty, 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E., its rule was marked by prosperity, military success, and the introduction of Buddhism.
Hanafi Look up Hanafi at Dictionary.com
Sunni school or sect in Islam, from Arabic, from the name of founder Abu Hanifah of Kufa (c. 700-770).
Hanbali Look up Hanbali at Dictionary.com
Sunni school or sect in Islam, from Arabic, from the name of founder Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855).
hand (n.) Look up hand at Dictionary.com
Old English hond, hand "the human hand;" also "side, part, direction" (in defining position, to either right or left); also "power, control, possession" (on the notion of the hand's grip or hold), from Proto-Germanic *handuz (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch, German hand, Old Norse hönd, Gothic handus), which is of uncertain origin. The original Old English plural handa was superseded in Middle English by handen, later hands. Indo-European "hand" words tend to be from roots meaning "seize, take, collect" or are extended from words originally meaning only a part of the hand (such as Irish lam, Welsh llaw, cognate with Latin palma and originally meaning "palm of the hand"). One ancient root, represented by Latin manus (see manual (adj.)) is represented in Old English by mund "hand," but more usually "protection, guardianship; a protector, guardian."

Meaning "manual worker, person who does something with his hands" is from 1580s, hence "hired workman" (1630s) and "sailor in a ship's crew" (1660s). Meaning "agency, part in doing something" is from 1590s. Clock and watch sense is from 1570s. Meaning "round of applause" is from 1838. The linear measure of 4 inches (originally 3) is from 1560s, now used only in giving the height of horses. The meaning "playing cards held in one player's hand" is from 1620s; that of "a round at a card game" is from 1620s. Meaning "handwriting" is from late 14c.; also "one's style of penmanship" (early 15c.). The word in reference to the various uses of hands in making a pledge is by c. 1200; specifically "one's pledge of marriage" by late 14c.

First hand, second hand, etc. (mid-15c.) are from the notion of something being passed from hand to hand. At hand is from c. 1200 as "near in time," c. 1300 as "within reach." Out of hand (1590s) is opposite of in hand "under control" (c. 1200). Adverbial phrase hand-over-fist (1803) is nautical, suggestive of hauling or climbing by passing the hands one before the other alternately. To win something hands down (1855) is from horse racing, from a jockey's gesture of letting the reins go loose in an easy victory.
The Two Thousand Guinea Stakes was not the best contested one that it has been our fortune to assist at. ... [T]hey were won by Meteor, with Scott for his rider; who went by the post with his hands down, the easiest of all easy half-lengths. Wiseacre certainly did the best in his power to spoil his position, and Misdeal was at one time a little vexatious. ["The Sportsman," report from April 26, 1840]
Phrase on the one hand ... on the other hand is recorded from 1630s, a figurative use of the physical sense of hand in reference to position on one side or the other side of the body (as in the lefthand side), which goes back to Old English Hands up! as a command from a policeman, robber, etc., is from 1863, from the image of holding up one's hands as a token of submission or non-resistance. Hand-to-hand "in close contact," of fighting, is from c. 1400. Hand-to-mouth is from c. 1500. Hand-in-hand attested from c. 1500 as "with hands clasped;" figurative sense of "concurrently" recorded from 1570s.
hand (v.) Look up hand at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, "take charge of, seize," from hand (n.). Earlier verbs were hend (Old English genehdan), handle. Meaning "to pass (something to someone)" is from 1640s. To hand it to (someone) "acknowledge someone's ability or superiority" is slang from 1906, the it perhaps meant to suggest a trophy cup, award, etc. Related: Handed; handing.
hand job (n.) Look up hand job at Dictionary.com
1940s, from hand (n.) + job (n.) "piece of work."
hand of glory (n.) Look up hand of glory at Dictionary.com
1707, originally a piece of mandrake root, translation of French maindeglorie, from a corruption of Latin mandragora "mandrake" (see mandrake). The dead man's hand charm is described from mid-15c., but not by this name.
hand-basket (n.) Look up hand-basket at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from hand (n.) + basket (n.).
hand-car (n.) Look up hand-car at Dictionary.com
1846 in railroading sense, from hand (n.) + car.
hand-cloth (n.) Look up hand-cloth at Dictionary.com
Old English hand-claþe; see hand (n.) + cloth (n.).
hand-grenade (n.) Look up hand-grenade at Dictionary.com
"bomb thrown by hand," 1660s, from hand (n.) + grenade.
hand-jive (n.) Look up hand-jive at Dictionary.com
1958, from hand (n.) + jive (n.).
hand-loom (n.) Look up hand-loom at Dictionary.com
1794, from hand (n.) + loom (n.).
hand-made (adj.) Look up hand-made at Dictionary.com
also handmade, 1610s, from hand (n.) + made. Old English had handworht "hand-wrought."
hand-me-down (adj.) Look up hand-me-down at Dictionary.com
1826, from the verbal phrase; see hand (v.). As a noun from 1874.
hand-out (n.) Look up hand-out at Dictionary.com
also handout, hand out, 1882, "alms or food given to a beggar," hobo slang, from the verbal phrase; see hand (v.) + out (adv.). Meaning "distributed printed informational matter" is from 1927.
hand-rail (n.) Look up hand-rail at Dictionary.com
1793, from hand (n.) + rail (n.1).
hand-spike (n.) Look up hand-spike at Dictionary.com
also handspike, 1610s, from hand (n.) + spike (n.).
hand-written (adj.) Look up hand-written at Dictionary.com
also handwritten, 1745, from hand (n.) + written. As a verb, hand-write is recorded from 1878, probably a back-formation.
handbag (n.) Look up handbag at Dictionary.com
also hand-bag, "bag for small articles, carried in the hand," 1854, from hand (n.) + bag (n.).
handball (n.) Look up handball at Dictionary.com
also hand-ball, mid-15c., "small ball, thrown or batted by hand," also the name of a game, from hand (n.) + ball (n.1). Originally a throwing and catching game popular before the use of bats or rackets. The modern sport of that name seems to be so called by 1885.
handbell (n.) Look up handbell at Dictionary.com
one rung by hand rather than by rope, etc., Old English handbelle; see hand (n.) + bell (n.).
handbill (n.) Look up handbill at Dictionary.com
loose paper circulated by hand to make a public announcement, 1753, from hand (n.) + bill (n.1). Also applied to posted bills.
handbook (n.) Look up handbook at Dictionary.com
Old English handboc "handbook, manual;" see hand (n.) + book (n.). It translates Latin manualis, and was displaced in Middle English by manual (from French), and later in part by enchiridion (from Greek). Reintroduced 1814 in imitation of German Handbuch, but execrated through much of 19c. as "that very ugly and very unnecessary word" [Richard Chenevix Trench, "English Past and Present," 1905].
handcraft (n.) Look up handcraft at Dictionary.com
Old English handcræft "manual skill, power of the hand; handicraft;" see hand (n.) + craft (n.).
handcuff (n.) Look up handcuff at Dictionary.com
1640s as a decorative addition to a sleeve; 1690s as a type of restraining device, from hand (n.) + cuff (n.). Old English had hondcops "a pair of hand cuffs," but the modern word is a re-invention. The verb is first attested 1720. Related: Handcuffed; handcuffing.
handfast (v.) Look up handfast at Dictionary.com
"betroth (two people), bind in wedlock; pledge oneself to," early 12c., from Old English handfæsten and cognate Old Norse handfesta "to pledge, betroth; strike a bargain by shaking hands;" for first element see hand (n.); second element is from Proto-Germanic causative verb *fastjan "to make firm," from PIE *past- "solid, firm" (see fast (adj.). Related: Handfasted; handfasting. The noun in Old English was >handfæstung.
handful (n.) Look up handful at Dictionary.com
Old English handful "as much as can be held in the open hand;" see hand (n.) + -ful. Also a linear measurement of four inches, a handbreadth (early 15c.). Meaning "a small portion or part" is from mid-15c. Figurative meaning "as much as one can manage" is from 1755; figurative expression have (one's) hands full "have enough to do" is from late 15c. Plural handfulls. Similar formation in German handvoll, Danish haanfuld.
handgrip (n.) Look up handgrip at Dictionary.com
also hand-grip, Old English handgripe "a grasp, a seizing with the hand;" see hand (n.) + grip (n.). Meaning "a handle" is from 1887.
handgun (n.) Look up handgun at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., of unmounted firearms, from hand (n.) + gun (n.). In modern use, "a pistol," from 1930s, American English.
handhold (n.) Look up handhold at Dictionary.com
1640s, from hand (n.) + hold (n.1).
handicap (n.) Look up handicap at Dictionary.com
1650s, from hand in cap, a game whereby two bettors would engage a neutral umpire to determine the odds in an unequal contest. The bettors would put their hands holding forfeit money into a hat or cap. The umpire would announce the odds and the bettors would withdraw their hands -- hands full meaning that they accepted the odds and the bet was on, hands empty meaning they did not accept the bet and were willing to forfeit the money. If one forfeited, then the money went to the other. If both agreed either on forfeiting or going ahead with the wager, then the umpire kept the money as payment. The custom, though not the name, is attested from 14c. ("Piers Plowman").

Reference to horse racing is 1754 (Handy-Cap Match), where the umpire decrees the superior horse should carry extra weight as a "handicap;" this led to sense of "encumbrance, disability" first recorded 1890. The main modern sense, "a mental or physical disability," is the last to develop, early 20c.
handicap (v.) Look up handicap at Dictionary.com
"equalize chances of competitors," 1852, but implied in the horse-race sense from mid-18c., from handicap (n.). Meaning "put at a disadvantage" is from 1864. Earliest verbal sense, now obsolete, was "to gain as in a wagering game" (1640s). Related: Handicapped; handicapping.
handicapped (adj.) Look up handicapped at Dictionary.com
"disabled," 1915, past participle adjective from handicap (v.). Originally especially of children. Meaning "handicapped persons generally" is attested by 1958.
handicraft (n.) Look up handicraft at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, hændecraft, a corruption (perhaps from influence of handiwork) of Old English handcræft "skill of the hand," from hand (n.) + craft (n.).
handily (adv.) Look up handily at Dictionary.com
"readily, easily;" also "by hand," c. 1400, handeli, from handy + -ly (2). Earlier it meant "done by hand" (late 14c.).
handiwork (n.) Look up handiwork at Dictionary.com
late 12c., from Old English handgeweorc "work of the hand, creation," from hand (n.) + geweorc, collective form of weorc "work" (see work (n.)). Old English collective prefix ge- regularly reduces to i- in Middle English, and the word probably came to be felt as handy + work.
handkerchief (n.) Look up handkerchief at Dictionary.com
1520s, from hand + kerchief, originally "cloth for covering the head," but since Middle English used generally as "piece of cloth used about the person." A curious confluence of words for "hand" and "head." By-form handkercher was in use 16c.-19c. A dropped handkerchief as a token of flirtation or courtship is attested by mid-18c.
handle (n.) Look up handle at Dictionary.com
Old English handle "a handle" (plural handla), formed from hand (n.) with instrumental suffix -el (1) indicating a tool in the way thimble was formed from thumb, spindle from spin, treadle from tread, etc. The slang sense of "nickname" is first recorded 1870, originally U.S., from earlier expressions about adding a handle to (one's) name (1833), that is, a title such as Mister or Sir. To fly off the handle (1833) is a figurative reference to an ax head (to be off the handle "be excited" is recorded from 1825, American English). To get a handle on "get control of" is recorded by 1919.
handle (v.) Look up handle at Dictionary.com
Middle English hondlen, handlen, "touch with the hands, hold in the hands, fondle, pet," also "to deal with, treat, manhandle," from Old English handlian "to touch or move with the hands," also "deal with, discuss;" formed from hand (n.), perhaps with a frequentative suffix, as fondle from fond. Cognate with Old Norse höndla "to seize, capture," Danish handle "to trade, deal," Old High German hantalon "feel, touch; manage," German handeln "to bargain, trade." Related: Handled; handling. Meaning "to act towards" (someone, in a certain manner, usually with hostility or roughness) is from c. 1200. The commercial sense "to trade or deal in" was weaker in English than in some other Germanic languages, but it strengthened in American English (by 1888) from the notion of something passing through one's hands, and see handler.
handlebar (n.) Look up handlebar at Dictionary.com
also handle-bar, 1867 in reference to bicycles, from handle (n.) + bar (n.1). Handlebar mustache is from 1932, American English, from similarity of shape; the comparison, if not the phrase, dates to at least 1911.
handler (n.) Look up handler at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "one who handles" anything, agent noun from handle (v.). Specific sense of "one engaged in trade" is from 1690s; that of "prizefighter's assistant" (1916) was earlier used in reference to dogfights and cockfights (1825).
handling (n.) Look up handling at Dictionary.com
Old English handlung "action of touching or feeling," from handlian (see handle (v.)). Meaning "way in which something handles" (especially a motor vehicle) is from 1962.
handmaid (n.) Look up handmaid at Dictionary.com
"female servant," c. 1300, from hand (n.) in the sense in close at hand + maid. Compare Old English handþegn "personal attendant" and the original sense of handsome.
hands-off (adj.) Look up hands-off at Dictionary.com
by 1895, from verbal phrase; see hand (n.) + off (adv.). Hands off! as a command to desist is by 1810.
hands-on (adj.) Look up hands-on at Dictionary.com
by 1969, originally in reference to the use of computers in education; see hand (n.) + on (adv.).
handshake (n.) Look up handshake at Dictionary.com
also hand-shake, 1801, from hand (n.) + shake (n.). Hand-shaking is attested from 1805; to shake hands is from 16c.