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 flyseemed 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

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 Meanwhile, a structured top-handle bag in orange leather gave her ensemble a pop of color, and retro black shades finished off the look with further polish. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Has the Coolest Shoe for a Bodycon Dress," 12 July 2020 To use it as a wagon, simply fold up the front side, attach its mesh liner, fill it up, and pull it by its handle. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Southern Living, "This Beach Chair Converts Into a Wagon and Cart," 1 July 2020 Its handle, however, was unwieldy and uncomfortable to hold while transferring food from pan to plate. Kate Bratskeir, CNN Underscored, "The best nonstick pans of 2020," 23 June 2020 Twitter users can change their page display name but not their Twitter handle. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Shelby Twp. police chief on paid leave after tweets glorifying police brutality," 5 June 2020 To create a handle, tie corn husk together with kitchen twine below the corn cob. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Mexican street corn: Easy and cheesy take on corn-on-the-cob," 9 July 2020 This handy bag goes from backpack to tote, thanks to a smart carry handle and strap configuration. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "Adidas is offering up to 30% off bags, hats and more accessories," 8 July 2020 Scrutiny over TikTok began to reach a fever pitch in April, when a Reddit user under the handle bangolol posted an analysis—which has since circulated far and wide in the technical community—contending that the TikTok app radically invaded privacy. Dipayan Ghosh, Wired, "India's TikTok Ban Dispels the Myth of the 'China Bogeyman'," 7 July 2020 But the tech company is making sure to do so only in regions that have gotten a handle on COVID-19 cases. Michal Lev-ram, Fortune, "Tech companies aim to bring back live gatherings—with rules," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The catfish can handle the hot weather, are great to eat and can be easy to catch. cleveland, "Catfish, walleye limits to be liberalized: Northeast Ohio fishing report for Thursday, July 9," 9 July 2020 As of July 8, COVID Act Now says that Michigan could likely handle another wave of the coronavirus, with 12% of hospital beds currently occupied in the state. Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press, "Nonprofit says Michigan is now at risk for another coronavirus outbreak," 8 July 2020 Entrees come with more sides than most of us can handle: a salad, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and creamy gravy. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Where to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day in Garland," 3 July 2020 The most trustworthy plants are those that regenerate quickly and can handle extremes, says Jessi Bloom, owner of NW Bloom EcoLogical Services in Redmond, Washington. Dean Fosdick, The Christian Science Monitor, "Climate change is hitting home gardens. Here's how to adapt.," 3 July 2020 This site is protected by recaptcha Privacy Policy | Terms of Service Philippe and his ministers will handle government affairs until a new cabinet is named, the statement added. NBC News, "French government resigns as Macron acts to recast presidency," 3 July 2020 This jump in cases comes as firefighters handle a growing number of COVID-19 calls. Sasha Hupka, The Arizona Republic, "As emergency COVID-19 calls skyrocket, first responders are feeling the impacts," 11 July 2020 The construction work would be performed by outside contractors while the IT and Technical Services departments would handle the technology upgrades. Laura Bednar, cleveland, "Independence looks to provide structural and security updates to City Hall," 11 July 2020 The Chinese ambassador, Sun Weidong, said Friday that the two countries should be partners rather than rivals and handle their differences properly to bring their ties back on the right track. Washington Post, "India says Indian, Chinese troops disengaging from standoff," 11 July 2020

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

26 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for handle


How to pronounce handle (audio)

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

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