a broad flat hand

Maggiemoocn

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi All

This is also from The Great Gatsby on F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter I) | Genius: "Turning me around by one arm, he moved a broad flat hand along the front vista..."

My question is:

1. What does a "flat hand" look like?
2. I feel it's difficult to find the definition in a dictionary for the word "flat", yet it does seem difficult to understand in the context, kind of subtle. How often do you see this word in this sense?

Thank you.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    For hands, "flat" usually means "open, with the fingers together" (picture 1). The opposite is "closed hand" or "fist" (picture 2). A third shape is "open, with all the fingers stretched wide apart", also called "splayed" (picture 3).

    flat hand.jpg closed hand.jpg splayed hand.jpg

    How often do you see this word in this sense?
    I don't see "flat hand" or "splayed hand" often. More common is "open hand" and "closed fist". There is a big difference between "slapping someone" (hitting them with an open hand and not much force) and "punching someone" or "hitting someone" (hitting with a fist).
     

    Maggiemoocn

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    doj
    For hands, "flat" usually means "open, with the fingers together" (picture 1). The opposite is "closed hand" or "fist" (picture 2). A third shape is "open, with all the fingers stretched wide apart", also called "splayed" (picture 3).

    View attachment 26903 View attachment 26904 View attachment 26905



    I don't see "flat hand" or "splayed hand" often. More common is "open hand" and "closed fist". There is a big difference between "slapping someone" (hitting them with an open hand and not much force) and "punching someone" or "hitting someone" (hitting with a fist).
    Thank you very much, dojibear. The three pictures help a lot. It seems that only native speakers can understand it, non-native speakers can't even find it in a dictionary.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I found pictures by using google search (which is my browser's starting page). After searching the phrase, I switched the tab at top, selecting "images" (pictures) instead of "all". It shows many pictures.
     
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