Is there a difference between "take in hand" and "take by the hand"? I tried to google the meanings but it's still a little vague.

1 Answer 1


take in hand


bring under control

It derives, I believe, from the days of riding horses, which are controlled by reins that lead from the rider’s hands or hand to a metal bit in the horse’s mouth. Certainly when I was a small boy being taught to ride, the riding master was always telling me to “get that pony in hand.”

However, it applies figuratively to many situations.

Once made CEO, he took that company in hand and returned it to prifitability.


take by the hand


to grasp the hand of someone, almost always in a spirit of care or affection.

Ruth took her granddaughter by the hand to cross the street

The boy shyly looked at her and took her by the hand.

It is a phrase not often used figuratively although often used symbolically.

The phrases are quite different in flavor as well as meaning.

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