Jul 13, 2021
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The meaning and origin of the phraseological unit “As in the palm of your hand”

The meaning and origin of the phraseological unit

The expression “as in the palm of your hand” evokes a sense of clarity, peace and comfort. A kind big hand, holding the world like a fragile crystal ball, appears to the imagination. And what exactly does this phrase mean? Let’s clarify.

The meaning of phraseological units

Idiom “in full view” means “understandable”, “intelligibly”, “visible”. The subject, about which they say so, is not hidden from view, it can be carefully examined from all sides. Every detail, down to the smallest detail, is clearly visible.

A peaceful aul, observed from the height of the ridge, is visible at a glance. It is enough to re-read the descriptions of nature in Lermontov’s novel “A Hero of Our Time” to enjoy the transparent air of his watercolor landscapes, the detailing of the narrative.

The perspective of the writer’s artistic vision, perhaps, was formed in the Caucasus, while observing the world, opening up “as in the palm of your hand.”

Phraseologism describes not only what can be seen with earthly vision. This is sometimes said about the human soul. For example, a mother might say to her teenage son trying to hide her frustration and sadness from her, “What happened? Share. All the same, I see you at a glance. ” This means that the mother, like no one else, knows the character of her son and guesses his condition with her heart. Nothing is hidden from a loving gaze.

Origin of expression

The palm is an image with positive semantics. Open palms are perceived as a symbol of peace, friendliness, blessing.

If a person is angry, hides, closes, his hands are clenched into a fist, and a palm unfurled towards the world speaks of harmony, beauty, kindness. That is why the expression “as in the palm of your hand” is associated in our consciousness with clarity, purity.

The pragmatic aspect of the origin of the idiom is determined by elementary everyday experience: what lies in the palm of your hand can be brought to your eyes, carefully examined. A small object will not roll down, will not get lost. On the one hand, it is protected from loss, on the other, it is clearly distinguishable.


The phraseological unit has no negative shades of meaning, it is pronounced with a good message, that is, the transparency of what is happening is assessed positively. But among similar expressions, you can find more ironic options:

  • in black and white;
  • clearer than clear;
  • and the horse understands;
  • needless to say.

Perhaps the idiom “as in the palm of your hand” – the most neutral in its color – adds to the description of carefulness. And it’s hard not to feel peace and joy if you imagine yourself as a bead on a warm fatherly palm.

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