'Handfull' or 'Handful': Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on February 15, 2023

Did someone take a ‘handfull’ of candy or a ‘handful’? Which is the correct way to spell the word, you might be wondering. We’ll go over that below, plus teach you how to pronounce the word and use it correctly in a sentence.

In short, the correct way to spell the word is:

  • ‘Handful’ is the correct way to spell the word. It means as much as someone can grab.
  • ‘Handfull’ is incorrect and should not be used.

Is It ‘Handfull’ or ‘Handful’?

As you just learned, ‘handful’ is the only correct way to spell the word.

Any other spelling of the word would be incorrect. Therefore, you should only spell it with one ‘l’ in your writing.

You might be tempted to spell it with two 'l's' because some English words are spelled with two 'l's' instead of one when you consider the British English version.

For example, words like levelled and travelled, are spelled with two 'L's' in British English but one 'L' in American English.

Don't make this mistake.

How to Use ‘Handful’ Correctly

Spelling the word is one thing, but how do you use it correctly?

Well, we know the word means as much as someone can grab.

Therefore, you’d use it in that way.

For example, when referring to how much candy you took from the bucket on Halloween, you might say you grabbed a ‘handful’ of candy.

Or you might say that you grabbed a 'handful' of popcorn from the bag at the movie theater.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Handful’

So, we know a little bit about what the word means. But let’s see what Merriam-Webster says.

The definition, according to that dictionary, is a small number or as much as one can manage. It also means as much or as many as the hand can grasp.

A few synonyms of the word include:

  • Couple
  • Scattering
  • Sprinkle
  • Few
  • Sprinkling
  • Scatter
  • Smattering

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Handful’

Wondering how to pronounce the word? Here’s a quick guide.

  • To pronounce the word correctly here’s the phonetic spelling: HAND-FUUL

How to Use ‘Handful’ in a Sentence

Wondering how to use this word in a sentence? Let’s see some examples.

  • My sister grabbed a handful of tissues so she could blow her nose.
  • I grabbed a yogurt and a handful of pretzels for lunch. I didn’t feel like making anything.
  • Why don’t you grab a handful of bobby pins so I can pin your hair up?
  • My favorite thing you do is take a handful of samples from the beauty store with no shame.
  • She spread a handful of markers on the table so her kindergarten students could have a variety of colors.
  • She grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled it into a ponytail for her school dance. She looked beautiful by the time she was done.

Final Thoughts on ‘Handful’ and ‘Handfull’

To recap, we learned that the correct way to spell the word is:

  • ‘Handful’ is the only way to spell the word correctly. It means as much as someone can grab.
  • ‘Handfull’ is incorrect and should never be used in your writing.

If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back here and refresh your memory. We’ve also got a ton of content on other confusing words and phrases you might come across while learning the English language. Don’t be afraid to go check it out whenever you need to.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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