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What part of speech is "lend a hand"? I know it is not an idiom or a metaphor because it is literal not symbolic.

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    Probably a verb phrase, with lend being the verb and a hand being its object. And it is both an idiom and a metaphor, as far as I understand. Unless someone literally lends a hand to some other one, for instance, for transplantation purposes (with a return at a later date). – CowperKettle Nov 8 '15 at 12:01
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    Yeah, a literal meaning would be infinitesimally rare. – Brian Hitchcock Nov 8 '15 at 12:04
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    One can certainly lend a hand if the "hand" is used in the meaning "servant" or "helper" (see "deck hand" with respect to boating/shipping). – Victor Bazarov Nov 8 '15 at 13:12
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As CopperKettle says, "to lend a hand" is a verb phrase meaning to aid someone in a task:

Some examples:

Jim could not open the jar so I lent a hand and opened it for him.

Which means the same as:

Jim could not open the jar so I helped and opened it for him.

Or:

"What are you doing?"
"Phillipa is painting her wall, so I am lending a hand"

Which means the same as:

"What are you doing?"
"Phillipa is painting her wall, so I am helping her"

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