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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Floral napkins and oak-handle flatware nod to nature's abundance outside the door. Krissa Rossbund, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Sep. 2022 Her accessories were even refined too, including her platform black sandals and yellow leather top-handle bag. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 22 Sep. 2022 In the Legacy Village parking garage, the man grabbed the door handle of a Jeep, occupied by two people, and tried to get inside. cleveland, 5 July 2022 The level of animosity, violent threats and fly-off-the-handle behavior at public meetings has hit remarkable heights since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Barabak wrote. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2022 Croc is all the rage this fall, and so are top-handle handbags. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 1 Sep. 2022 It can be placed right inside a backpack or clipped onto it with the buckle handle — their call. Monique Valeris, Good Housekeeping, 30 Aug. 2022 The iconic thermos has a handle, a cap that functions as a mug, and some of the best vacuum insulation on the market. Mark Stock, Men's Health, 24 Aug. 2022 The basket-like weave of this particular bag tapers through a single brass ring into a thick, rope-like handle meant to be slung over the shoulder. Nathan Heller, Vogue, 23 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb El Camino, Rick Hyde, Heem B$F, LoveBoat Luciano and Fuego Base handle much of the records on the project alongside Benny, Westside, Conway and more. Mark Elibert, Billboard, 21 Sep. 2022 Most standard washing machines can handle this rug. Belle Duchene, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Sep. 2022 Graham Young, Andrew King, Andre Emilius and Jaylin Davis handle the back end. Dennis Victory, al, 20 Sep. 2022 This one can handle 26 ounces and is nice and heavy, great for a hearty toast with family and friends. Mark Stock, Men's Health, 19 Sep. 2022 Together, the twin operations handle about 40 percent of containerized trade with Asia. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Sep. 2022 The large frying basket can handle up to a 14-pound turkey and still have room for everything else. Melanie Rud, Peoplemag, 19 Sep. 2022 Al Michaels, in his 37th season calling NFL games, will handle play-by-play. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2022 Hence, professionals must handle the conductive thermal pastes with extreme care. Toby Grey, BGR, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About handle

Time Traveler for handle

Time Traveler

The first known use of handle was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near handle

hand language


hand lead

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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for handle


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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