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hand·​cuff ˈhan(d)-ˌkəf How to pronounce handcuff (audio)
: a metal fastening that can be locked around a wrist and is usually connected by a chain or bar with another such fastening
usually used in plural


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handcuffed; handcuffing; handcuffs

transitive verb

: to apply handcuffs to : manacle
: to hold in check : make ineffective or powerless
handcuffed by strict regulations

Examples of handcuff in a Sentence

Noun the man reluctantly held out his wrists so the policeman could snap on handcuffs Verb wanted to take the trip, but was handcuffed by her responsibility to watch her ailing father the fear that the new mandatory, standardized tests will handcuff the state's teachers, who will have to specifically tailor their lesson plans for the test
Recent Examples on the Web
Diddy's sons Justin Combs, 30, and Christian 'King' Combs, 25, were shown in handcuffs outside of their Beverly Hills home on March 26. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 18 May 2024 The footage shows that former jailer Rafael Moreno placed his knee and body weight on Johnson’s back for around 90 seconds after Johnson had already been subdued and put in handcuffs. Cody Copeland, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 18 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for handcuff 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'handcuff.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1649, in the meaning defined above


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of handcuff was in 1649

Dictionary Entries Near handcuff

Cite this Entry

“Handcuff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handcuff. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a metal fastening locking around a wrist and usually connected by a chain or bar with another such fastening
usually used in plural
handcuff verb

More from Merriam-Webster on handcuff

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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