han·dle | \ ˈhan-dᵊl \

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, 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 \ adjective
handleless \ˈhan-dᵊl-(l)əs \ adjective


handleable \ˈhan-dᵊl-ə-bəl \ 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

Finally, the tonic is poured slowly down the twisted handle of the spoon to increase the bubbles and enhance the aromatic effect of the botanicals. Lisa Futterman, chicagotribune.com, "No mere gin and tonic: Spanish craze employs fruits and herbs to pause summer," 11 July 2018 The review found that there were no records to confirm that Cruz had attended the three-day diversion program in 2013, after breaking the handle of a restroom faucet. David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Stoneman Douglas shooting commission: PROMISE program flawed but not relevant to massacre," 10 July 2018 Maduk pumped the handles of his wheelchair, reaching his car in seconds, and loaded his body into the passenger seat. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 Investigators found novichok had been smeared on the handle of their front door. Ciara Nugent, Time, "'There Will Be Severe Pain.' What to Know About the New Novichok Nerve Agent Poisoning in the U.K.," 5 July 2018 British officials determined that the Skripals were likely poisoned after a would-be assassin smeared the nerve agent on the front door handle of Mr. Skripal’s home. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018 Hill lost the handle of a fastball and clipped outfielder Dom Smith in the second inning. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Dodgers hit seven home runs in extra-inning victory to finish sweep of Mets," 24 June 2018 Along with detailing what image was captured by friends, users were also given the handle of the person who had saved the image, making any and all discrete Internet sleuthing on your crush just about impossible. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Will No Longer Alert Users About Screenshots," 16 June 2018 Police swabbed the driver's side handle of Joseph James DeAngelo's car, according to arrest and search warrants released Friday. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "DNA that led to Golden State Killer suspect's arrest was collected from his car while he shopped," 2 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Extremely athletic and agile, Reese can handle the ball and averaged 3.1 assists as a sophomore for the No. Katherine Dunn, baltimoresun.com, "After missing cut for U.S. team, St. Frances star Angel Reese plans more hoops, closer look at big offers," 14 July 2018 An Oklahoman who grew up among family members who taught him how to handle guns, Whittle vigorously defends the right to bear arms. Frances Stead Sellers, Washington Post, "Two Oklahoma citizens killed an active shooter, and it's not as simple as it sounds," 13 July 2018 Series creator Julian Fellowes, who wrote the series alone, will also handle the movie's screenplay. Matthew Wilson, USA TODAY, "Crawley family reunion time! The 'Downton Abbey' movie is happening," 13 July 2018 Even with a massive crowd of fans, no one handles a walkabout quite like Prince Harry! Maura Hohman, PEOPLE.com, "See Prince Harry's Trick for Greeting an Entire Crowd of Fans at Once!," 12 July 2018 But tills with small screens cannot handle the billions of bolívares needed to buy, say, a television. The Economist, "Venezuelan cash is almost worthless, but also scarce," 12 July 2018 Grier likely will handle those interviews well, and that plus another great season at West Virginia might be enough to get into the first round. Andy Staples, SI.com, "Like It or Not, College Football Is Influencing the NFL," 12 July 2018 How exactly this truck with no human driver can handle unmarked, often dirt and gravel roads is pretty interesting. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "This electric driverless logging truck can carry up to 16 tons of timber," 12 July 2018 Employee handled a garbage can and went back to cutting tomatoes without washing hands. Robert Gundran, azcentral, "Restaurant with no sneeze guard on salsa bar among this week's violations," 11 July 2018

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


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


see handle entry 1

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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

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 \

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

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to make amends

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