Last modified on 23 May 2014, at 13:14

hand wringing

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

hand +‎ wringing

Alternative formsEdit

NounEdit

hand wringing (uncountable)

  1. The repeated clasping or squeezing of the hands as a symptom of distress.
    • 1862, Anna Maria Hall, Can wrong be right?, chapter XIII:
      Whisperings filled the corridors with unearthly sounds — the hand-wringing and breast-beating of the elder sisters — the sighs and sobs of the younger.
  2. A feigned exhibition of distress, usually with implied inaction or vacillating in the face of a dilemma or crisis.
    • 2001, Thomas W. Smith, Revaluing Ethics: Aristotle's Dialectical Pedagogy, page 1:
      On the one hand, there is the danger of ineffectual and often counterproductive conservative handwringing over the crisis.
    • 2003, Daniel K. Akaka, Fema's Role in Managing Bioterrorist Attacks and The Impact of Public Health Concerns on Bioterrorism Preparedness, page 69:
      As noted, the confusion and hand wringing about who should do what mostly flows from a failure to clearly think through what an epidemic is and what will be demanded in response.