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Wring the hands

Definitions

  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Wring the hands to manifest grief by convulsive clasping of the hands
    • ***

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. wringan, to twist; Dut. wringen, Ger. ringen. Cf. Wreak, Wry.

Usage

In literature:

Scientists were wringing their hands in utter helplessness before the incredible resistance of the dome.
"Invasion" by William Fitzgerald Jenkins
All the long nights through Bernardine would weep and moan and wring her little white hands.
"Jolly Sally Pendleton" by Laura Jean Libbey
Women were wringing their hands, children crying, fathers walking the streets with careworn faces, not knowing whither to go or what to do.
"Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times" by Charles Carleton Coffin
Ena was wringing her hands, but the daughter-in-law didn't notice it.
"The Side Of The Angels" by Basil King
Glancing toward the house, she saw Miss Hope come flying toward her, wringing her hands.
"Betty Gordon in the Land of Oil" by Alice B. Emerson
The housekeeper stood wringing her hands, entreating me to desist.
"Shirley" by Charlotte Brontë
She stood before him, wringing her hands, the tears streaming down her face, but her voice was sweet and steady.
"The Unknown Quantity" by Henry van Dyke
The nurse made a step forward to interfere, but then stepped back again wringing her hands.
"Sir Tom" by Mrs. Oliphant
At that moment the Princess came on deck, weeping and wringing her hands.
"Legends & Romances of Brittany" by Lewis Spence
Now you may wring yours out with your hands and hang them out on the line.
"A Little Housekeeping Book for a Little Girl" by Caroline French Benton
It was the surveyor and he was wringing his hands and weeping as he ran.
"With Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga" by W. Bert Foster
Weeping and wringing her hands, the girl went down to her mother.
"The Brown Fairy Book" by Andrew Lang
There was a long, painful silence; the old man musing, Virginia wringing her hands, Toby keeping watch outside.
"Cudjo's Cave" by J. T. Trowbridge
She went in, to find the old lady seated on her trunk wringing her hands.
"Madge Morton's Trust" by Amy D. V. Chalmers
Women ran into the streets wringing their hands and weeping aloud.
"Uncle Daniel's Story Of "Tom" Anderson And Twenty Great Battles" by John McElroy
Then the engineer came to, and began to wring his hands and moan in a way that was heart-rending.
"Mr. Munchausen" by John Kendrick Bangs
When Scud and I joined Mabel on the rocks in front of her house we found her wringing her hands, sobbing and crying for help.
"A Republic Without a President and Other Stories" by Herbert Ward
Rochtzi walks and runs about the room, she weeps and wrings her hands.
"Yiddish Tales" by Various
Was she wringing her hands for her son lost in the flood, her son in disgrace with the congregation?
"The Little Minister" by J. M. Barrie
Now the engagement was in everybody's mouth, and up-stairs lay the bride-elect, wringing her hands and weeping for another!
"A Sister's Love" by W. Heimburg
***

In poetry:

Then spake the sea-king in his wrath:
"Thy ships lie broken in my path!
Go now and wring thy hands, false king!
Nor ship nor heir thy kingdom hath!
"Yvytot" by Eugene Field
"I see her sitting as if on the wait
For me, and before her a fireless grate,
She is weeping and wringing her hands as in pain;
My God! I wish we were home with our train."
"Jim Dalley" by Alexander Anderson
But she, whose voice that hailed him he could hear
There 'mid the mist and wind, she seemed to wring
Her hands with gestures yet more maddening
Toward him who drew not near.
"The Ferryman" by Emile Verhaeren
She pauses again and again on the floor,
Which the moonlight has brightened so mockingly o'er;
She wrings her cold hands with a groan of despair;
--"Oh, God! have compassion!--my darling is there!"
"Beechenbrook - II" by Margaret Junkin Preston
It is my soul that holds your soul, and not my hand of clay
That holds your hand, and from your hair wrings the cold dew away,
That feels old love alive again and knoweth no regret
But blesses Death we died so young, Margaret.
"The Dead Lovers" by Nora Jane Hopper Chesson
I rose up, I made no moan, I did not cry nor falter,
But slowly in the twilight I came to Cromer town.
What can wringing of the hands do that which is ordained to alter?
He had climbed, had climbed the mountain, he would ne'er come down.
"Requiescat In Pace" by Jean Ingelow

In news:

Environmentalists wring their hands over the damage done to both the Earth and local economies by shrimp and salmon farms.
So it's no surprise that the Japanese politicians are wringing their hands and considering the prospect of a government-led stock-buying scheme.
Cutting the budget takes guts, not hand-wringing.
Enough Hand- Wringing About the Republicans and Religion.
Budgetary hand- wringing puts the partially constructed American Indian center in limbo.
Frequent hand-wringing over the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback situation has struck a nerve with some.
These little chest-thumping, hand-wringing moments seem to occur on an almost weekly basis in the political world, with each new one replacing the one that came the week before.
There's been plenty of angst and hand wringing in the Hokie nation over the last four days thanks to two Tech losses in three weeks.
These are the games WIBW has been wringing its collective hands over.
If you're caught up in all the punditry, analysis and hand -wringing (both on TV news channels and on Twitter) over who won and who lost last night, you're missing the big picture.
Republican leaders and conservative pundits have been wringing their hands since the Nov 6 election about what to do about the Latino voting bloc that is overwhelmingly Democratic.
There was much hand-wringing in these parts the past several weeks about the way the New York Giants were slogging their way through another November.
With the US presidential election over, let the hand-wringing begin.
The Republican Party has been doing a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing since the presidential election.
While there is some hand wringing going on over the decrease in American bred engineers, South Texas College, a community college in McAllen, is busy educating some.
***