Crying is right at hand in the smoothering dark, closed inside someone else, when you see how everything you can ever accomplish will end up as trash.

Source: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

1 Answer 1



right at hand

is a phrase that may literally imply that some implement is within touching distance, or may be used more metaphorically to indicate that some desired information or assistance is readily available. Here the usage indicates that one may readily start crying.

I might instead say

I have xxx close to hand

or even

I have xxx to hand

  • I disagree with "close to hand" being an equivalent. Near my hand – sure, but not "I have xxx close to hand."
    – J.R.
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:33
  • @J.R. - I think "close to hand" is fine. Google Books provides many examples. You think "near my hand" is better? It doesn't have the same idiomatic meaning, to my thinking.
    – stangdon
    Jul 13, 2016 at 18:05
  • @stangdon - Interesting. The expression doesn't sound familiar to me – maybe it's a regional thing? The BrEng ngram and the AmEng ngram suggest it might be. Anyhow, thanks for correcting me and setting the record straight.
    – J.R.
    Jul 13, 2016 at 19:16
  • Yes, I am British, "close to hand" was the phrase I would use, I was surprised to find "right at hand" was valid.
    – djna
    Jul 14, 2016 at 6:45

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