handcuff

noun
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

handcuff

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for handcuff

Synonyms: Noun

band, bind, bond, bracelet, chain, cuff(s), fetter, irons, ligature, manacle(s), shackle

Synonyms: Verb

bind, chain, enchain, enfetter, fetter, gyve, manacle, pinion, shackle, trammel

Antonyms: Verb

unbind, unfetter, unshackle

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But on Thursday morning, the Maltese armed forces stormed the vessel and detained five men suspected of leading the hijacking, taking them away in handcuffs when the ship docked in Valletta, the capital. Stephen Calleja, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Captain feared death in migrant hijack at sea," 30 Mar. 2019 At one point Casado is on top of the officer before Baskins finally gains control and handcuffs Casado. Charles Rabin, miamiherald, "Miami man sues after wild tussle with cops. Much of it was caught on body cam video.," 27 June 2018 After an altercation during which the lawsuit alleged the Mexican teenager bit a staff member during a beating, he was restrained in handcuffs and shackles for 10 days, resulting in bruises and cuts. USA TODAY, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse," 21 June 2018 After an altercation during which the lawsuit alleged the Mexican teenager bit a staff member during a beating, he was restrained in handcuffs and shackles for 10 days, resulting in bruises and cuts. CBS News, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia allege they were beaten while cuffed, left nude in cells," 21 June 2018 After an altercation during which the lawsuit alleged the Mexican teenager bit a staff member during a beating, he was restrained in handcuffs and shackles for 10 days, resulting in bruises and cuts. Michael Biesecker, BostonGlobe.com, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse," 21 June 2018 After all, who would feel intimidated by someone with a badge, a gun, pepper spray, handcuffs, and the full weight and authority of the law? Michael Harriot, The Root, "Kansas Finally Bans Cops From Forcing Suspects to Have Sex Because ... Yes, a Cop Reportedly Raped Black Women for Years," 15 May 2018 Elsheikh and Kotey spoke to the AP at a Kurdish security building in the town of Kobani, where they were brought, initially in handcuffs and face covers that were removed. Sarah El Deeb And Andrea Rosa, miamiherald, "2 British IS members say hostage beheadings were a ‘mistake’ | Miami Herald," 2 Apr. 2018 Pool reporters and others in the courtroom Tuesday said the changes in the 64-year-old Mr. Ghosn’s appearance were immediately visible as he was brought to the courtroom in handcuffs. Peter Landers, WSJ, "After 50 Long Days in Jail, Ghosn Is Sharp as He Prepares His Defense," 8 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Instead she was drugged with the tranquilizer ketamine, handcuffed and zipped into a bag before being driven in the trunk of a car to a farmhouse outside Turin, more than 100 miles away. Adam Carlson, PEOPLE.com, "Model Was Lured to Italy, Drugged and Then Held for Ransom for Days by 'Psychopath'," 12 June 2018 Rivarde says a struggle ensued with deputies who eventually handcuffed Robinson. Tina Burnside And Darran Simon, CNN, "Death of black man during arrest in Louisiana ruled homicide," 14 May 2018 Photos of the event were then shared on the Tio Facebook page which showed what appeared to be more than six officers handcuffing the pair after having forced them to lie face-down on the ground. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Guy dressed in 'Deapool' costume arrested with friend at gunpoint on their way to see the film," 17 May 2018 The clip shows officers wearing bike helmets handcuffing the two men in a Starbucks location in Philadelphia’s downtown district. Ana Calderone, PEOPLE.com, "Starbucks CEO Calls Arrest of Black Men 'Completely Inappropriate' and 'Reprehensible'," 16 Apr. 2018 Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown Philadelphia establishment on Thursday. WSJ, "Starbucks Issues Apology Over Philadelphia Store Arrests," 15 Apr. 2018 Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown establishment on Thursday. NBC News, "Police chief: Officers did nothing wrong in arrest of black men at Starbucks," 15 Apr. 2018 Videos posted online show officers handcuffing the men in the downtown establishment Thursday. CBS News, "Police chief defends officers' actions in viral Starbucks arrest video," 14 Apr. 2018 Cuyahoga County Sheriff investigators estimated that Anderson was handcuffed on the ground for about 21 minutes, based on a timer on one of the officer's stun gun which was activated but never used. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Cleveland police officer gets 10-day suspension in Tanisha Anderson's death," 12 Mar. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of handcuff

Noun

1649, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handcuff

Statistics for handcuff

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handcuff

The first known use of handcuff was in 1649

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for handcuff

handcuff

verb

English Language Learners Definition of handcuff

: to put handcuffs on (someone)

handcuff

noun
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.

handcuff

verb
handcuffed; handcuffing

Kids Definition of handcuff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put handcuffs on

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on handcuff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handcuff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handcuff

Spanish Central: Translation of handcuff

Nglish: Translation of handcuff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handcuff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on handcuff

What made you want to look up handcuff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!