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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The two women also sported floral headpieces—Sophie with a hatband and Zara a fascinator— and neutral pumps, and carried top-handle bags. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, 5 June 2022 The top-handle black bag is of legend in Her Majesty’s wardrobe, but a stealth treasure in their oeuvre is their under-the radar men’s bag. Vogue, 3 June 2022 The 16, a top-handle satchel, is named for the address of Celine’s atelier, at 16 Rue Vivienne in Paris, while the Triomphe, a smaller shoulder bag, has a clasp that resembles the wrought-iron chain circling its namesake arch. New York Times, 26 May 2022 Investors still believe the Federal Reserve will be able to get a handle on inflation by hiking rates, reducing bets that prices will keep rising at such a rapid clip down the line. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 21 July 2022 And yet, with so many small and medium-size businesses suffering financially, the government has struggled to get a handle on rising unemployment. New York Times, 14 July 2022 Delta culled its schedule in July and into August and is planning to hold off on additional growth for the rest of the year in an effort to get a handle on its problems. Alison Sider, WSJ, 13 July 2022 Cook, the Duke University professor emeritus, said increased efforts to solve shootings could help get a handle on the surge in violence, even if its precise drivers are unknown. Washington Post, 8 July 2022 Eric Terry, the Chapter 11 trustee, is expected to meet with Pettit sometime this week — possibly as early as Tuesday — to get a better handle on the estate and client files. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, 27 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But small businesses are a growth area for Zelle, Lowry said, with companies able to handle payments including payroll through the system. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 7 Aug. 2022 Doubling of demand for electricity does not necessarily mean a need to double the amount of infrastructure, experts said, because newer equipment would likely be able to handle higher demand. Sabrina Shankman, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Aug. 2022 These specialists are able to handle dogs in a way that won’t scare them. Daryl Perry, USA TODAY, 30 July 2022 Pro tip: Not a great idea to swap sturdy shelving for an over-the-toilet bathroom version that might not be able to handle something heavy, like a microwave. Leanne Italile, Chicago Tribune, 20 July 2022 One app will be able to handle all of your Google Payment duties, like tap-and-pay and sending money to contacts. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 18 July 2022 But Persuasion at times seems embarrassed by its source material, or at least overeager to spruce it up for audiences that might not be able to handle a gentler pace. David Sims, The Atlantic, 15 July 2022 The college game has plenty of successful back-to-the-basket players, but the NBA in particular wants its big men to be able to handle the ball and shoot 3-pointers. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 14 July 2022 The larger surgical departments at other UH hospitals will be able to handle extra cases. cleveland, 14 July 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About handle

Time Traveler for handle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near handle

hand language


hand lead

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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for handle


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

More from Merriam-Webster on handle

Nglish: Translation of handle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handle for Arabic Speakers


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