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

If the Warriors lose Game 5 of the NBA Finals here Monday night and surrender their NBA crown to the Raptors — if those handles rip off the bag — there will be legitimate excuses. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors have carried a heavy load from the very start of this season," 9 June 2019 Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene faces kidnapping and assault charges for allegedly using a pipe, broom handle and golf club to assault his sister and wife in front of their 9-year-old son. Fox News, "Former Bengal charged with assault for attacking wife and sister with golf club in front of son: police," 8 June 2019 Florida, in turn, will need to get a regulatory handle on the industry. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Buyer beware: CBD products could be this century’s snake oil," 7 June 2019 Police discovered a broken and bloody mop handle near where she was found, according to NBC News. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "An American woman is attacked in the Dominican Republic. A resort says police question her story.," 6 June 2019 Most who use this technique like either soft objects, like pillows, blankets, or sheets, or hard objects like a TV remote or hairbrush handle. Vanessa Marin, Allure, "Ask a Sex Therapist: How Does Hands-Free Masturbation Work?," 23 May 2019 Two mother-of-pearl spoons with aluminum handles stick to the magnetized drawer. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Just Watch How This Rolls-Royce Champagne Case Cracks Open," 22 May 2019 The car was locked shut from the inside and had the metal chain around a rear-door handle, according to... Katie Honan, WSJ, "Father Is in Custody After Toddler’s Death in Burning Car," 6 May 2019 In similar ways, UglyWorldwide is not just an IG handle or a brand, or even just me. Scarlett Newman, Teen Vogue, "This New Fashion Challenge Is Asking High-Profile Creators to Learn a New Skill in 24 Hours," 3 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Connecticut says the other two sites in the sound lack the capacity to handle the full volume of dredged material long term and are much farther away. Ana Radelat, courant.com, "Connecticut, New York in court battle over dumping in Long Island Sound," 11 June 2019 Such a massive 5 ft drop for luggage designed to handle such issues. #fauxoutrage. Author: David Matthews, Anchorage Daily News, "Passenger video shows worker throwing luggage from Alaska Airlines jet," 10 June 2019 This time, the legislature gave the gaming board an $8 million budget increase, plus as much as $20 million in additional funding to handle its growing portfolio, which now includes sports gambling, six new casinos and racinos. Jason Grotto, ProPublica, "Illinois Is Poised to Become the Gambling Capital of the Midwest," 10 June 2019 Linking up well with soon-to-be Olympique Lyonnais teammate Nikita Parris, Scotland struggled to handle the threat of the Lionesses threat from out wide. SI.com, "England 2-1 Scotland: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Lionesses Make Winning Start to World Cup," 9 June 2019 Nikita Parris’ 14th-minute penalty kick opened the scoring, the PK awarded after a VAR review detected a Nicola Docherty handling violation. Frank Dell’apa, BostonGlobe.com, "Italy, Brazil claim victories that were long time coming," 9 June 2019 Just three days after Hersey beat Libertyville for a sectional crown, tangling with Huntley sophomore pitcher Briana Bower proved too much to handle in a 3-1 supersectional loss at Barrington. Steve Reaven, chicagotribune.com, "Hersey softball raises the bar as talented senior class leads the way," 8 June 2019 Laptop and Tablet Deals Asus Zenbook 13 for $749 ($201 off): A modern and understated laptop, the Zenbook 13 is light enough to carry with you anywhere and powerful enough to handle almost anything your workday can throw at it. Wired Staff, WIRED, "16 Killer Deals on iPad, Galaxy S10E, TV Speakers, and More," 8 June 2019 Have faith in your ability to handle whatever comes your way. Sonja Marie, Essence, "Gemini, Mind Your Money! Here Are June 2019 Horoscopes For All," 6 June 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

13 Jun 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

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