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A hand-me-down is an article that is passed on from one person to another, something  that is secondhand. A hand-me-down is a previously owned item that still has some use left in it. Hand-me-down may be used as a noun or as an adjective, it is always hyphenated. The plural form is hand-me-downs. Most often, hand-me-down and hand-me-downs refer to articles of clothing that the owner grows out of and passes down to a younger child. The phrase hand-me-down first appears in the 1870s.


Hand-me-down clothing, blankets and gear from their family members with young children prepared the couple as well as they could be to become new parents. (The Casper Journal)

Lulu has spent most of the season in hand-me-down, no-name ski pants, which are totally fine. (Outside Magazine)

So when we arrive for dinner, Mr McGuinness (as he has become accustomed to being addressed on these work trips of mine) is escorted off to reception and offered the choice of two jackets, one of which is a hand-me-down from a much larger chap. (The Independent)

Louise remembers something different; she used to get hand-me-down jumpers and shoes from her brother. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Mothballed jokes about a panda’s vast appetite or the creature’s inability to scale flights of stairs are aired again and spiky banter between Jack Black’s self-doubting hero and Dustin Hoffman’s despairing red panda mentor also feel like hand-me-downs. (The Press and Journal)

While we definitely spent a good part of our childhoods complaining about hand-me-downs, never once were those old clothes Chris Benz skirts. (The Huffington POst)

While demand remains strong for some hand-me-downs — including firearms, vintage clothing and jewelry — the resale market has been especially hard on three heirloom mainstays: china, crystal and furniture. (The Columbus Dispatch)