I would like to describe the action of removing dust/sand from a surface with the ulnar border of the palm (see image, highlighted in green), but I cannot find an informal yet precise expression to refer to this body part. In Italian, we informally call this part "il taglio della mano" (literally, the cut of the hand). I was wondering if there is an equally informal and less anatomical expression to refer to this body part in English? Thanks!

ulnar border of hand

  • I don't think we would be (or need to be) that specific. You can get it from the verb. He swept the sand away with his hand would conjure the ulnar border action. Brushed would be more fingers and palm. Dec 3, 2022 at 15:55
  • blade of the hand would probably be understood although I can't find many references.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 4, 2022 at 10:42
  • @TinfoilHat, thank you, that's a very good suggestion. Although "sweeping with one's hand" could also include sweeping with palm or back of the hand? I need it to be specific because the narrator is recalling and replicating an action exactly as she witnessed it.
    – Teresadb
    Dec 4, 2022 at 17:23
  • @StuartF, interestingly, I found "blade of the hand" only in the context of martial arts (e.g., hand position of knifehand strike) and cheerleading hand formations. Probably too context-dependent for my sentence
    – Teresadb
    Dec 4, 2022 at 17:30
  • Sweeping with a palm would be inefficient; we would naturally apply the ulnar border. Sweeping with the back of the hand would also be inefficient, and painful; I can't imagine anyone doing that. Are you talking about a police report or something where the precise anatomy matters? Dec 4, 2022 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


"The side of the hand." "The side of one's hand"

Were you referring to the side with the thumb on it, it would be "Removing sand from between the thumb and forefinger"

Java Lost, a Child Imprisoned: Eighteen Inches on a Mattress - Jannie Wilbrink • 2011 With the side of his hand he stripped about half an inch of dirt from off the top and pushed it to one side

The Angels of Resistance (Hardcover) - David V. Mammina • 2013 Maxim swatted the blade away with lightning speed and spun around the justice's body to chop the back of his neck with the side of his hand.

Part Two Margaret's Life and the Return of the Ghosts - Tom Marovich 2020. “Mom, how's Dad doin'?” Tears rolled down his mother's cheeks. “Michael, your dad's getting tired.” With the side of his hand, Michael gently wiped the tears from his mother's cheeks.

Coeur D'alene - Linnea Larsson • 2008 [He] hit Dave Wilson's wrist with the side of his hand to break the grip Dave had on Celest's arm

The Life and Adventures of Trobadora Beatrice As Chronicled Irmtraud Morgner · 2000 Pakulat stroked the side of his hand across the table , pushing the bills and coins toward him .

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