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

The tandem was able to lower the handle and open a door together. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Inspired by Wasps, This Micro-Drone Lifts 40 Times its Weight," 25 Oct. 2018 The announcement also comes as a series of congressional proposals seek to address how authorities’ handle and track reports of missing women on reservations. Mary Hudetz, The Seattle Times, "Feds plan funding boost to fight assaults on Native women," 18 Sep. 2018 The knife, the most skeletal of all the pieces, has negative space in the center, leaving just the handle and blade. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "‘Skeleton’ cutlery is designed to use as little material as possible," 11 Sep. 2018 Frye and Hills are accused of beating children with their fists, a metal stove handle and a belt. Mark Scolforo, Fox News, "Baby sitters accused of beatings, severe abuse over 6 days," 2 Aug. 2018 Prince Andrew has an official Twitter handle, and Princess Eugenie recently launched her own personal Instagram account. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Is Prince Andrew's Ex-Wife, Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson," 19 May 2018 Users can search or scroll through lists of others who are on the service, but typing one wrong letter can pull up the wrong person with a similar handle or name. Telis Demos, WSJ, "You Accidentally Sent $149 to a Stranger on Venmo? Good Luck Getting It Back," 12 July 2018 The Assembly kit is like a high-powered picnic basket—every utensil and gadget is packed into a small red and white carrier with a handle. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "All-in-one portable kitchen designed for millennials short on time and space," 6 July 2018 Trim logs for the fire, cut rope for the tent or cut apple slices for the kids with this handsome new 6-inch, steel-blade knife with a walnut handle and waxed canvas sheath. Sara Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "7 fun additions for your camping kit," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Microsoft’s Xbox app on Windows 10 lacks the ability to control game installs and updates, as this is all handled by the Microsoft Store which regularly fails to update games automatically. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Xbox chief admits Microsoft has ‘a ton of work to do on Windows’ for PC gamers," 11 Nov. 2018 Here’s how other companies, including Okta and Bank of America, have handled the multiple-HQ arrangement. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: ‘You get an Amazon HQ2 and you get an Amazon HQ2!’," 6 Nov. 2018 For many in the territory, however, there was frustration at how the vote was handled. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "New Caledonians Vote No on Frexit, Will Maintain French Connection," 4 Nov. 2018 Senator Tammy Duckworth carried her infant daughter onto the Senate floor in April, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern brought her child to the United Nationsin September—all proving the juggle is real but can be handled with class. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "9 Times Being a Woman in 2018 Was Genuinely Powerful," 30 Oct. 2018 Before the election, she was paid $130,000 to stay silent in a deal handled by Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen. Andrew Welsh-hugging, Cincinnati.com, "Stormy Daniels arrested: Officers' motivations to be reviewed," 13 July 2018 Back and forth: Notices have gone out to San Diego dog owners that future licensing for Fido and Fifi won’t be handled by the County of San Diego, contracted by the city to oversee it for the last 47 years. Diane Bell, sandiegouniontribune.com, "When Hoover High cafeteria worker's story goes viral, her 'other life' is revealed," 13 July 2018 Before the election, she was paid $130,000 to stay silent in a deal handled by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. Washington Post, "A day after arrest, Stormy Daniels dances but doesn’t touch," 13 July 2018 Lead-singing duties are handled by Gabriel Vela and Brightstar Zamora-Matocha. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Latin Satin Soul performs at free Whiting concert series," 12 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

14 Nov 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

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


a private place of worship

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