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 fly seemed ready to fly off the handle


handled; handling\ ˈhan(d)-​liŋ How to pronounce handle (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 handle (audio) \ adjective
handleless \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​(l)əs How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective


handleable \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce handle (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 Upcoming sales tax holidays are expected to drive shoppers in some states to get a handle on their shopping. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, 24 July 2021 Flight Director Gene Kranz, played by Ed Harris, is trying to get a handle on what just has happened and what can be done. Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021 That’s the standard monetarist sequence, and it’s been followed to a T. To get a handle on what the recent money supply explosion implies for inflation, consider a monetarist model for determining national income. John Greenwood, WSJ, 20 July 2021 The territory is murky and has ignited an intense debate as technology companies struggle to define the problem and attempt to get a handle on the flood of false and misleading information. Lena Camilletti, ABC News, 18 July 2021 After a pair of wild pitches by Aaron Bummer put runners on second and third, second baseman Leury García couldn’t get a handle on a grounder by Kyle Tucker, allowing another run to score on an infield hit. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, 17 July 2021 Most recently, Golding has partnered with the app Affirm, which helps users get a handle on their finances and save up for big purchases like vacations. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 7 July 2021 Leaders can get a good handle on the type of motivation that most want and need from people, intrinsic motivation. Constance Dierickx, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Many Americans have expressed a hopelessness that the country will ever get a handle on the violence. BostonGlobe.com, 29 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When faced with more Covid cases than hospital resources could handle, wrenching decisions had to be made about which patients had better odds to survive on the available ventilators. Scott Tobias, Vulture, 22 July 2021 But pinch-hitter Ryan McBroom following with a one-hop, soft-liner up the middle that deflected off Suter's glove and went to Wong, who could not handle what went for a hit to load the bases. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 July 2021 Anyone who has worked around the courts knows there’s no other way to handle a litigant in the throes of delusion. New York Times, 14 July 2021 What's the best way to handle higher prices in the meantime? Chris Farrell, Star Tribune, 10 July 2021 The way to handle this is by heeding the advice above, and by tweaking your light's height and angle. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, 1 July 2021 So the best way to handle more public interaction and travel in 2021 is to protect organizations through vaccinations. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 26 June 2021 What is the best way to handle web-facing applications and APIs that are susceptible to attacks via proxy networks? Nick Rieniets, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Greene now says that if the government is genuinely concerned about security, then this new review is an appropriate way to handle it. Scott Nover, Quartz, 22 June 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near handle

hand language


hand lead

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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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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 She handles all 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

More from Merriam-Webster on handle

Nglish: Translation of handle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handle for Arabic Speakers


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