Sep 22, 2022
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The meaning of phraseologism “like the back of your hand”

The meaning of phraseologism

What do we know better than our own hands, forever flashing before our eyes? What is more familiar than our fingers: thumb, index, middle, ring, little finger? Finger games, learning to count, and then – endless attempts to “explain everything on the fingers.” Yes, where without them? ..

The meaning of phraseology

Expression “like the back of my hand” means “very well, in detail, thoroughly.” The phrase is used in relation to a person who speaks with confidence about any subject and knows it in great detail.

“I know this city like the back of my hand,” a Moscow student will proudly say to his provincial friend who has come for the holidays. Just as good as your own five, you can study the character of a loved one, the weather in your native land, your pet’s habits, or the method of preparing your favorite dish.

The idiom is applicable to everything that is well known and carefully studied. After all, getting lost in five fingers is as difficult as in three pines.

Origin of expression

Phraseologism comes from ordinary everyday observations. Hands, fingers, palms are constantly in front of our eyes, and therefore, when we say that we know something like the back of our hand, we mean a familiar, well-known thing, something that is always in sight. Watching the things at hand every day, people got used to them and turned them into metaphors. And so the expression “know how the back of your hand” arose.

Test for knowledge of phraseological units →


Something well-known can be said in many ways:

  • know how flaky;
  • as “Our Father”;
  • fully.

The confidence that there are things in life that are familiar “like the back of your hand” gives a feeling of security and comfort. However, it is important not to forget that even long-understood truths can at any moment form into a new bizarre picture. And it’s probably not so bad!

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