Hand over Fist (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Hand over Fist"?

Making money hand over fist means to make a lot of money quickly. This term has a nautical history. It relates to the practice of climbing a rope hand over hand. This soon became known as hand over fist, with the fist being the hand gripping the rope. The term hand over fist soon evolved from making progress up a rope to making progress generally. Today, it relates only to financial gain.

Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms

Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs