among(st) hands adv phr chiefly Midl old-fash or obs Cf amongst hands pron phr
1 occas amongst hands of them: By joint action (or inaction) of the parties involved; between or among them (or us, etc). [Scots, nIr, nEngl dial among hands; cf EDD among-hands adv. 1 “done conjointly, by mutual help or joint action,” SND amang prep. C.(3)(b)(i)]
1828 Western Souvenir 262 IL, But then some think an Indian or two . . will never be missed; others again hate to create an interruption in the settlement; others, who pretend to know the law, say . . that our state laws won’t kiver the case; and withal Monson keeps his own counsel, and so among hands he escapes. 1837 in 1977 Polk Correspondence 4.148 TN, We are to lend, some 20 of us, to Mr Nesbitt, 2000 $, and amongst hands conduct the paper until we can be suited in an Editor. 1860 in 1932 SW Hist. Qrly. 36.146 TX, Went . . turkey hunting at night killed amongst hands some 27 turkeys. 1865 PA School Jrl. 13.192, Directors are generally so engaged in their own home affairs, as to have no time left to think of these things. Neither will the scholars who resort to the school . . think of the matter at all, unless led and incited to it by Teachers and Directors. Thus amongst hands . . the improvement of the school grounds is entirely forgotten or overlooked by all. 1880 Harrisburg Daily Patriot (PA) 17 Aug /1, The democrats, greenbackers and prohibitionists among hands are giving the stalwarts a good scare. 1891 Landmark (Statesville NC) 19 Mar /1 (newspaperarchive.com), If the county commissioners would make a small appropriation and the board of aldermen a small appropriation and somebody would then hand around the hat among the citizens, enough money might be gotten up amongst hands to replace the palings. 1902 Tyler K. K. K. 16 cnTN, They worried him till his head turned gray, and atter so long a time ’mongst hands of ’em they got all his money and turned him loose. 1909 Emporia Gaz. (KS)3 Sept 1/5, It is a lesson in push and industry to watch the Exchange street pavers work. Every man on the job seems to be an expert in his line, and among hands the dirt is made to fly. 1922 Jonesboro Daily Tribune (AR) 12 June /5, They sent for Sharpe and, finally, among hands, they rounded up Romulus [=a captive wolf] and coralled [sic] him again.
2 Widely, among people generally.
1838 in 1942 IN Hist. Comm. IN Hist. Coll. 26.562, It is Insinuated hear amongst Hands, that the Surveyor Genl. in the west, has not the funds to pay the surveyors of the public lands in Michigan. 1907 Emporia Gaz. (KS) 15 May /2 (newspaperarchive.com), There seems to be some sentiment amongst hands in “every kindred every tribe” in Kansas Republican politics for Charles S. Davidson, of Wichita for governor. 1940 Ibid 12 Feb 4/2, It is a good thing to find an organization that is devoting itself to just being decent around “amongst hands” and looking after people who ordinarily get a good many hard knocks.
3 Among other jobs, at odd moments. [Scots, nIr, nEngl dial; cf EDD among-hands adv. 2 “Of work: done at odd moments, conjointly with other things”]
1850 W. Chr. Advocate (Cincinnati OH) 6 Feb 22/5 MO, Among hands, we intend getting up a few statistics of a Church character, at some future day, relative to the comparative numerical strength of the two Methodist families here.1914 Spirit West 7 Oct 8/2, He was developed entirely by Geo. W. Thompson among hands in his college work and other engagements and turned over to Charles Lacey to take out and race.