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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Carlson — wearing handcuffs on just one wrist — jumped up and began punching and spitting at Telford and the officer, slamming the dangling handcuff into Telford’s head. jsonline.com, 10 Dec. 2020 Till got one handcuff on the victim but was unable to get the second on and a scuffle ensued. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 30 Sep. 2020 Dobbins is a strong handcuff and/or speculative pick. Cory Bonini, USA TODAY, 27 Aug. 2020 And despite all that, Willie Calhoun still wound up in handcuffs. Dallas News, 4 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The camera goes on to show a struggle as officers attempt to handcuff Greene. Aya Elamroussi And Dave Alsup, CNN, 22 May 2021 The officer places his knee on the man's back and holds him down with both hands as he, another officer and deputy attempt to handcuff Jennette. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, 21 May 2021 After a brief conversation, the officer on the driver's side takes Wright out of the car and begins to handcuff him. Washington Post, Star Tribune, 17 May 2021 Walter Spann said Davis grew angry and prepared to handcuff his son. Justin Jouvenal, baltimoresun.com, 2 May 2021 Eventually, several officers attempt to handcuff him. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 8 May 2021 Walter Spann said Davis grew angry and prepared to handcuff his son. Justin Jouvenal, baltimoresun.com, 2 May 2021 On Monday, then-chief Tim Gannon released body camera footage, showing Wright standing outside his vehicle with his arms behind his back and an officer directly behind him, trying to handcuff him. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 17 Apr. 2021 As officers tried to handcuff him, Wright twisted away and slipped back into the driver’s door, and in an ensuing struggle, Potter fired one round, which hit him. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, 15 Apr. 2021

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.

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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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Statistics for handcuff

Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Handcuff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handcuff. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for handcuff



English Language Learners Definition of handcuff

: to put handcuffs on (someone)


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


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