hand·​cuff | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌkəf How to pronounce handcuff (audio) \

Definition of handcuff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


handcuffed; handcuffing; handcuffs

Definition of handcuff (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for handcuff

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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: Noun After her arrest, Bare was able to slip out of her left handcuff, exit the police vehicle and flee. Tristan Balagtas, PEOPLE.com, 7 June 2022 Burkins felt the clasp of a handcuff around his right wrist. Dallas News, 16 Sep. 2021 The 45-second clip shows police handcuff Piccini facedown on the street, then lift her up and throw her into the back of the van. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 July 2021 Several officers entered the cell to handcuff and subdue Gilbert. Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2021 A few minutes later, an officer removed the handcuff and began collecting Jackson's property. Andrew Welsh-huggins And Farnoush Amiri, Star Tribune, 15 Apr. 2021 Another officer is seen in the footage removing Jackson's handcuff. NBC News, 15 Apr. 2021 The Mahanoy School District, which declined ABC News' request for an interview, says in court documents that the appellate decision threatens to handcuff coaches, principals and teachers nationwide. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 2 Apr. 2021 Videos showed police, clad in riot gear, using battering rams to enter properties and handcuff and drag out the occupants as crowds spilled into the streets. Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When Dixon began to resist, the two men fell to the ground and Riley and a Flynn tried to handcuff Dixon. Jessica Anderson, Baltimore Sun, 15 July 2022 The officers proceeded to pat McGough down, threatened to handcuff her, and eventually escorted her to a police car parked in front of a dining hall to take her to an inpatient psych stay. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 12 July 2022 The video shows officers appearing to struggle to handcuff Blake Sr. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 7 July 2022 The man complied, and as the officer prepared to handcuff him, Desadier ran up on them and kicked the man in the face, authorities said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 4 July 2022 At this point, Miller seems to start walking onto the street, and the police handcuff the actor, who invokes both the Fourth and Ninth Amendments. Christian Holub, EW.com, 12 May 2022 The suspect, with his hands raised, backed up until police could handcuff him. Julian Mark, Anchorage Daily News, 18 June 2021 The suspect, with his hands raised, backed up until police could handcuff him. Washington Post, 18 June 2021 McCormack grabbed the dog in a headlock, but Drago broke free and held onto the suspect until troopers could handcuff him, police said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, 21 Dec. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handcuff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of handcuff


1649, in the meaning defined above


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for handcuff

Time Traveler

The first known use of handcuff was in 1649

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Dictionary Entries Near handcuff

hand cream


hand cultivator

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Statistics for handcuff

Last Updated

15 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Handcuff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handcuff. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for handcuff


hand·​cuff | \ ˈhand-ˌkəf How to pronounce handcuff (audio) \

Kids Definition of handcuff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a metal ring that can be locked around a person's wrist usually used in pl.


handcuffed; handcuffing

Kids Definition of handcuff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put handcuffs on

More from Merriam-Webster on handcuff

Nglish: Translation of handcuff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handcuff for Arabic Speakers


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