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The hyphenated word glad-hand is a verb meaning to greet cordially.1 It’s a shortened form of the expression give a glad hand to, which seems to have originated in the U.S. during the late 19th century.2 In actual usage, glad-hand and its derivatives often imply phoniness, flattery, or some self-serving motive on the part of the glad-hander, so the word’s connotations are at least slightly negative.


As the rebels stormed through Sirte in October, a planeload of French business executives flew into Tripoli to glad-hand the victors. [Fortune]

[I]ndustry invitees drank champagne and glad-handed one another under flashing red and blue lights. [Storms: My Life With Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac, Carol Ann Harris]

As President Obama glad-handed fellow world leaders at today’s G-20 summit, he took special note of Argentina President Cristina Kirchner. [USA Today]

The burbling happy warrior from Minnesota had been carrying out his third presidential campaign as a classic glad-handing, backslapping, ward-heeling, something-for-everyone Democrat. [Nixonland, Rick Perlstein]

So there was Dorworth, a mere big lug of a glad-hander. [St. Petersburg Times]


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