han·​dle | \ ˈhan-dᵊl How to pronounce handle (audio) \

Definition of handle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a part that is designed especially to be grasped by the hand
2 : something that resembles a handle
3a : title sense 4 a royal handle
b : name also : nickname went by his childhood handle
4 : hand sense 9c the smooth handle of silk
5 : the total amount of money bet on a race, game, or event
6 : a means of understanding or controlling can't quite get a handle on things
off the handle
: into a state of sudden and violent anger usually used with fly seemed ready to fly off the handle


handled; handling\ ˈhan(d)-​liŋ How to pronounce handle (audio) , ˈhan-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of handle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to try or examine (as by touching, feeling, or moving) with the hand handle silk to judge its weight
b : to manage with the hands handle a horse
2a : to deal with in writing or speaking or in the plastic arts He handles the topic briefly in his book.
b : to have overall responsibility for supervising or directing : manage a lawyer handles all my affairs
c : to train and act as the assistant for (a boxer) handles featherweight boxers
d : to put up with : stand can't handle the heat
3 : to act on or perform a required function with regard to handle the day's mail
4 : to engage in the buying, selling, or distributing of (a commodity)

intransitive verb

: to act, behave, or respond in a certain way when handled or directed a car that handles well

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Other Words from handle


handled \ ˈhan-​dᵊld How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective
handleless \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​(l)əs How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective


handleable \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective

Examples of handle in a Sentence

Noun He held the shovel by the handle. The handles on the bag were torn. Verb Handle the fruit carefully or it will bruise. The baked potatoes were too hot to handle with our bare hands. He knows how to handle a motorcycle. He handles his motorcycle well. She learned how to handle a weapon. She handles all the bookkeeping. The system is handled by the main computer. She's proven that she can handle anything. The airport handles both passenger and cargo flights. She couldn't handle being away from her children for more than a couple of days.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By contrast, individuals who are clear, credible communicators have a handle on PUNG words. Liz Guthridge, Forbes, 25 May 2021 This administration, our administration, has a handle on the money. cleveland, 20 May 2021 This has a handle on one end and the other end is where the leg roller is. Chris Hachey, BGR, 14 May 2021 This one has a handle so it can easily be transported if necessary. Rima Suqi, WSJ, 12 May 2021 Interestingly, the door has no handle on the side where Jesus is knocking. The Rev. Ellin Dize, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 7 May 2021 Alternatively, use one or two strips of husk to tie off the handle. Elizabeth Karmel, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Public health experts say having a good handle on waste is crucial to detect problems that could derail progress and risk lives. NBC News, 3 May 2021 Public health experts say having a good handle on waste is crucial for detecting problems that could derail progress and risk lives. ABC News, 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Depending on the routes of the Ravens’ outside receivers, Buffalo often had only three defenders in zone coverage to handle the Ravens’ short- and intermediate-range options. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, 7 June 2021 Yet most nongovernmental groups lack the capacity to handle billions of dollars in assistance. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2021 TotalEnergies, which declined to comment on the case, has challenged the court’s competency to handle the suit, saying it should be dealt with by a commercial tribunal. Sarah Mcfarlane, WSJ, 6 June 2021 Kiffmeyer said her bill transfers some of the Historical Society's operating budget to the Department of Administration to handle the new costs, and the department can still choose to contract with the Historical Society. Briana Bierschbach, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 This will show you just how well-equipped the agency is to handle your project. Marius Vetrici, Forbes, 4 June 2021 But the recent shortage of home-care nurses has forced the couple, who live in Queens, to handle longer and longer periods on their own — as many as 36 hours at a stretch. New York Times, 4 June 2021 Centurion American Development Group has selected Weitzman to handle the leasing of its Iron Horse Village retail project in Mesquite and the City Point development in North Richland Hills. Steve Brown, Dallas News, 3 June 2021 It's expected there will be some form of bridge legislation by the NCAA to handle the temporary situation so that athletes don't lose eligibility as the governing body works toward getting passage of federal law. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 3 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handle.' 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 handle


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for handle

Noun and Verb

Middle English handel, from Old English handle; akin to Old English hand

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Time Traveler for handle

Time Traveler

The first known use of handle was before the 12th century

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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for handle



English Language Learners Definition of handle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a part of something that is designed to be held by your hand



English Language Learners Definition of handle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to touch, feel, hold, or move (something) with your hand
: to manage or control (something) with your hands
: to do the work required for (something)


han·​dle | \ ˈhan-dəl How to pronounce handle (audio) \

Kids Definition of handle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part by which something (as a dish or tool) is picked up or held

Other Words from handle

handled \ -​dəld \ adjective a short-handled broom


handled; handling

Kids Definition of handle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to touch, feel, hold, or move with the hand Please don't handle the merchandise.
2 : to manage or control especially with the hands He knows how to handle a motorcycle.
3 : manage sense 1, direct She handles all the money.
4 : to deal with or act on Firing—the final step in the process … —was handled well by no man.— Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard
5 : to deal or trade in This store handles electronics.
6 : to put up with I can't handle this heat.

Other Words from handle

handler \ ˈhand-​lər \ noun


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