Raised by hand

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 17, 2007

In Reply to: Raised by hand posted by Anna-Elyse on May 17, 2007

: I am currently reading "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. In the first part of the book it is frequently mentioned that Pip (the main character who is a child) was "raised by hand". What does the phrase "by hand" mean?

It's been a while since I read this work, but Pip was an orphan, from what age I'm not sure. Normally being hand-raised would imply (for a mammal like Pip) being bottle-fed. I don't know when bottle-feeding started in England, but the first citation of the word in the OED is from ca. 1865. "Great Expectations" was published serially in 1860-61. I'm guessing that bottle-feeding was already practiced, and that this is the reason for his remark. Absent his mother, he could have been wet-nursed by someone else. But would that count as raised by hand? Improbable, I think. Or I could be wrong.