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 11c 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 handling (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 handled (audio) \ adjective
handleless \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​(l)əs How to pronounce handleless (audio) \ adjective


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

Examples of handle in a Sentence


He held the shovel by the handle. The handles on the bag were torn.


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

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have launched their own official Instagram page today with the handle @SussexRoyal. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Officially Join Instagram," 2 Apr. 2019 Although her mother taught her to knit with more traditional needles (the average length is around 14 inches), Bond liked experimenting with broom handles. Rose Minutaglio, Country Living, "This Art Student Broke the Guinness World Record for Largest Knitting Needles," 20 Nov. 2018 One of the messages selected for the video was by a user with the handle @racheleklei. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Watch Outlander's Caitriona Balfe Do a Hilarious Impression of Her Co-Star Sam Heughan," 15 Oct. 2018 Lamont-Djite is carrying a textured leather handle bag from Mark Cross. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Look Is Money: How Three Fashion Editors Dress for Work," 19 Apr. 2019 The aluminum handle includes eight additional tools. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Leatherman Rethinks the Multitool. This Time With Magnets.," 17 Apr. 2019 With the bases loaded, New York’s beefy, breakout slugger split his bat near the handle but still muscled a single to center against Ryan Burr for a 1-0 lead. Jake Seiner, The Seattle Times, "Sabathia cruises in return from angioplasty, Yanks 1-hit CHW," 13 Apr. 2019 Indeed, the original handle now belonged to Meghan and Harry. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Instagram Account Originally Belonged to Someone Else Until They Took Over," 4 Apr. 2019 Connect with her on Facebook, and Twitter through the handle @RhondaAbrams. Rhonda Abrams, USA TODAY, "Seven tricks for home office success," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kehlani’s now handling post-maternity style with as much ease. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Kehlani Can Make Even a Baby Björn Look Chic," 9 May 2019 Most couples couldn’t handle the constant together time. Marie Milano, Country Living, "'Shark Tank' Star Lori Greiner's Husband Dan Has Always Supported Her Career," 5 May 2019 These incredible women have handled [the band reunion] so well and have been the best support system for each of us, individually and as a group. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Watch Priyanka Chopra, Sophie Turner, and Danielle Jonas Dance to the Jonas Brothers at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards," 2 May 2019 This puts the plane maker in a position of power, even as complaints mount about how the company handled safety issues. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Boeing’s 737 MAX Is Too Big to Fail," 29 Apr. 2019 Her rule: every space can handle one large-scale print, one geometric print, and one small-scale print. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "An Uninspired NYC Apartment Is Revived With Color, Charisma, and Customization," 17 Jan. 2019 The app will save passwords for you in your browser, and its mobile apps will handle your passwords elsewhere. Tom Warren, The Verge, "The 9 best apps for your new Windows PC," 27 Dec. 2018 According to Wallpaper, many of the original details, like door handles, radiator caps, built-in furniture units, and window casings, will be preserved and restored. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This Brutalist masterpiece is now a gorgeous coworking space," 12 Dec. 2018 The power of Rihanna in Barbados, wearing Virgil Abloh, rocking braids, and posing with Buju Banton is simply too much for the Internet to handle. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Rihanna Wore Jumbo Box Braids Down to Her Waist and Fans Are Loving the Look," 29 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handle

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

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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 His wife handles 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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More from Merriam-Webster on handle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handle

Spanish Central: Translation of handle

Nglish: Translation of handle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on handle

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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