Hand Over Fist - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you doing financially well in life? If you're a salesperson or business owner making large amounts of money quickly, you're doing so, "hand over fist." The idiom is suitable for formal and informal use, describing someone or a company doing well and reaping financial rewards.

Hand over fist is a common term used in many modern scenarios. Originally a nautical term, the phrase now exists exclusively in the financial world.

This post looks at the meaning and origin of "hand over fist," and we'll unpack how to use it in a sentence.

Hand over Fist Meaning

The meaning of hand over fist suggests that a person, company, music artist, entrepreneur, or private entity is making a lot of money in a short time.

It's suitable to describe prosperity, and many people use it when describing their financial activity or that of others they know or a legal entity. The idiom may also feature in conversations where someone is relating rapid progress to a goal.

Hand over Fist Example Usage

Here are some example cases where you can use hand over fist in a sentence.

  • Tom was making money hand over fist after starting his company.
  • The musician released his first single and started making money hand over fist.
  • We're doing well this quarter. We're making money hand over fist.
  • Mike is on a run of luck in this poker game; he's stacking chips hand over fist.
  • I'm making money hand over fist with this new business venture.
  • Pretty soon, you'll be making money hand over fist.
  • You can undercharge the consumer with those prices and still make money hand over fist.
  • Cindy is doing well with her diet; she's making progress hand over fist to her goal weight.

Hand over Fist Origin

The origin of the idiom "hand over fist" comes from the maritime industry in the 1800s. The term described sailors climbing or pulling a rope, using the technique of placing "hand over fist" as they moved to the top of the rope. The idiom would describe the progress of hoisting a sail or tethering a boat to the dock.

The term faded in the maritime industry in the 1900s, where it would reappear as an idiom describing financial prosperity. Today, hand over fist exclusively features in the financial or business world describing rapid progress with a monetary reward.

Phrases Similar to Hand over Fist

A few idioms and phrases have a similar meaning to hand over fist, and all of them refer to making fast progress or accumulating large amounts of money quickly.

  • I'm doing well.
  • I'm making a killing.
  • I'm making a fortune.
  • We're getting massive gains.
  • Supercharging results.

Phrases Opposite to Hand over Fist

Phrases that are the opposite of hand over fist refer to taking too much time to reach a goal or not doing well financially.

  • It's taking its time.
  • Dead in the water.
  • Moving at a snail's pace.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Hand over fists.
  • Hands over fist.
  • Hands over fists.

Ways People May Say Hand over Fist Incorrectly

Some people may use hand over fist incorrectly. In modern society, it refers to rapid progress to a goal or making a lot of money. Using it to refer to any other life events is incorrect.

  • I beat that guy up hand over fist.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Hand over Fist

You can use the idiom hand over fist to describe any situation where you are accumulating large amounts of income over a short period or making significant progress to a big goal. It could refer to business results, stock trading, gambling, or any other term bringing large financial rewards.

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