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

Fuchs, who’s best known on Instagram under the handle @fashionambitionist, was reportedly turned away from an H&M party in the Hamptons last week, Page Six sources report. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Influencer Marissa Fuchs Reportedly Turned Away from Fashion Party After Viral Engagement Backlash," 31 July 2019 Jackson can even shake a defender on the perimeter, showing off impressive handles and a low center of gravity. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Sophomore Check-In: Assessing Expectations for Luka Doncic, Trae Young in Year 2," 26 July 2019 Police say the footage shows Espinoza jostling the door handle in an attempt to get into the house. Erin Logan, baltimoresun.com, "Legal experts weigh in on potential prosecution of Woodbine fatal shooting case," 25 July 2019 People are walking the streets at night and checking car handles, Haddad said. Andrea Perez Balderrama, Detroit Free Press, "Guns are going missing from unlocked cars in Dearborn," 24 July 2019 Blocks of ebony, oak, boxwood, and walnut sit on shelves, waiting to become handles. National Geographic, "In Corsica, on a quest for beautiful harmony," 24 July 2019 Bend knees, hinge at hips, lower torso, and grab handle of kettlebell (A). Rozalynn S. Frazier, Health.com, "Hit All Your Major Muscles With This 6-Move Kettlebell Workout," 10 June 2019 Some classics still occupy handles, including Honker’s Ale, Green Line Pale Ale, the Belgian-style ales Matilda and Sofie, as well as the renowned lineup of barrel-aged Bourbon County beers. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Guide to Chicago’s essential craft breweries for visitors, locals, bar crawlers and enthusiasts," 22 July 2019 Beauchamp stretches to 6-6 with a good handle, a developing 3-point shot and nice feel slashing to the basket. Zach Osterman, azcentral, "MarJon Beauchamp recruiting: ASU, Arizona among Pac-12 schools in on 5-star wing," 15 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One edge Cole holds is an ability to handle kickoffs, which Townsend does not. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders practice report: Offense stalls in hurry-up; Jacobs makes contact," 6 Aug. 2019 This is a method to handle problems discreetly without alarming other guests. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Hurricane coverage," 6 Aug. 2019 The idea is that, with tools like FileMaker Pro and Connect, companies will be able to handle these programming projects without the need for more developers. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Attention Apple Retro-Heads: Claris is Back!," 6 Aug. 2019 As a young lawyer, he was dispatched to Saudi Arabia to handle contracts for the construction group Fluor. Mark Vandevelde, Los Angeles Times, "Tom Barrack, a Trump ally with fingers in many pies," 6 Aug. 2019 Lang said Dentsu approached him about coming on board to handle some of the finances, media sales and sponsorships. Mesfin Fekadu, chicagotribune.com, "The ‘bizarre trip’ that was almost Woodstock 50," 5 Aug. 2019 The nullified rule had added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their financial affairs to the national background check database. NBC News, "Trump made it easier for the mentally ill to get guns when he rolled back Obama regulation," 5 Aug. 2019 Sure, there are plenty of ways of wearing your swimsuits when pools or beaches aren't in the equation, but sometimes even those layers are too much to handle in 75+ degree weather. Teen Vogue, "The Best Slip Dresses to Shop Right Now," 5 Aug. 2019 Lang said Dentsu approached him about coming on board to handle some of the finances, media sales and sponsorships. Mesfin Fekadu, USA TODAY, "Woodstock co-founder on failed 50th: 'It's not been surprising that we weren't able to pull this off'," 5 Aug. 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

8 Aug 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

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of or relating to the heavens

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