hand down

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hand down (third-person singular simple present hands down, present participle handing down, simple past and past participle handed down)

  1. To transmit in succession, as from father to son, or from predecessor to successor.
    Fables are handed down from age to age.
  2. To deliver (the decision of a court, etc.)
    The jury handed down a verdict of guilty.
  3. To forward to the proper officer (the decision of a higher court).
    The Clerk of the Court of Appeals handed down its decision.
    • 1920, T. S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”, in The Sacred Wood:
      Yet if the only form of tradition, of handing down, consisted in following the ways of the immediate generation before us in a blind or timid adherence to its successes, "tradition" should positively be discouraged.
  4. (idiomatic) To donate (as second hand.)
    When my older brother grows out of his clothes, he hands them down to me, which later in turn I hand down to my little brother, if they're not ripped apart by then. We fall over a lot, this family of ours. And grow fast. Either way, my little brother ends up with tonnes of third-hand scruffy clothes. Maybe that's why he gets picked on so much.

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