AskDefine | Define handout

Dictionary Definition



1 an announcement distributed to members of the press in order to supplement or replace an oral presentation [syn: press release, release]
2 giving money or food or clothing to a needy person

User Contributed Dictionary

see hand out



  1. A worksheet, leaflet, or pamphlet that is given out (usually by hand) for a certain use.
  2. A gift to the poor or needy.
    It's a place to get a hand up, not a handout.

Extensive Definition

A handout is something given freely or distributed gratis (without compensation). It can refer to materials handed out for presentation purposes or to a charitable gift, among other things.
During the Great Depression, many people lived entirely on handouts of one kind or another. The term became especially popular among hobos, who developed a system of signs and symbols to describe the nature, quantity, and availability of handouts.
In more recent times, the perceived ineffectiveness of simple welfare schemes has given the term a negative connotation. "Give a hand up, not a handout" is a common remark among proponents of workfare or other welfare-to-work systems. As the issue of homelessness has become more visible and controversial, handouts to panhandlers are more often frowned upon by those who believe the behavior encourages homelessness. The term "government handout" is often applied to both welfare systems as well as corporate welfare or pork. The implication is that a handout is unearned and undeserved, unlike a "donation" or "contribution".
Handouts may also refer to short, usually single-page assignments distributed in high school or college.

See also

handout in Danish: Hand out
handout in German: Thesenpapier

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, acquaintance, alms, alms fee, announcement, blue book, briefing, bulletin, charity, collection, communication, communique, contribution, data, datum, directory, dispatch, dole, donation, donative, enlightenment, evidence, facts, factual information, familiarization, gen, general information, guidebook, hard information, incidental information, info, information, instruction, intelligence, knowledge, light, mention, message, notice, notification, offering, offertory, pittance, presentation, press release, promotional material, proof, publication, publicity, release, report, sidelight, statement, subscription, the dope, the goods, the know, the scoop, tithe, transmission, votive offering, white book, white paper, word
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