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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jones hit the football with his fist, Chubb lost the handle and Patriots safety Devin McCourty won the rainy-day scramble at the New England 4-yard line to protect a 10-0 lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Jonathan Jones uses ‘competitive speed’ to run down Nick Chubb," 30 Oct. 2019 Ah For such a big tool, the Ridgid handles easily thanks to high-grip surfaces on the handle and good ergonomics. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Cordless Nail Guns," 30 Oct. 2019 By Far, with a cute top handle and crossbody strap, that retails for $560. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Fall Handbags on Vogue Editors’ Wish Lists Aren’t What You Expect," 25 Oct. 2019 Instead, try this unisex one from Bambaw is made with a compostable bamboo handle and recyclable steel blade. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Natural Products for Your Dopp Kit," 17 Oct. 2019 Within a few meters of the bronze objects, divers found more debris from the battle, including arrowheads, dress pins, a bronze knife with a bone handle, and a human rib and cranium. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle," 15 Oct. 2019 With artisanal stainless steel handles and aluminium parts, nothing says classy like the Dune Pro case. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Watch us build this PC with Threadripper and GeForce RTX inside," 7 Oct. 2019 Sloane’s hand went lax on the handle, and the knife clattered to the floor, bouncing between their feet. David Canfield, EW.com, "Chosen Ones: See an exclusive preview of Veronica Roth's thrilling adult debut," 30 Sep. 2019 The two-time champion was knocked back by the Fijians’ intensity and couldn’t get a handle on their elusive running game for the first half, and trailed 8-0, 14-7 and 21-12 before changing tactics to win under the roof at the Sapporo Dome. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Australia gets rattled, responds to beat Fiji 39-21 at RWC," 21 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The male officers who handle Marie's case are cold, mechanical, and have an obvious bias against her. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "People Are Praising Netflix's Unbelievable for Starting Important Discussions About Sexual Assault," 16 Sep. 2019 Working with the Atari 2600 was difficult because of the timing and handling engineers had to exert over its resources, as well as those of the television to which it output graphics and sound. David L. Craddock, Ars Technica, "How a basement hacker transformed Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600," 14 Sep. 2019 Better to leave some things unfinished and write yourself a reminder to handle it in the daylight. Brooke Kosofsky Glassberg, Good Housekeeping, "This 30-Day Self-Care Challenge Will Help Busy Moms Slow Down," 11 Sep. 2019 How to handle an abusive manager Bad bosses can show up in any industry, says Stanford business researcher Robert Sutton. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 Reich isn't quite sure how Brissett is handling it. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Andrew Luck retired. It really happened. So what's next for the Colts?," 25 Aug. 2019 Casiraghi and his sailing partner Boris Herrmann are handling the actual sailing, sharing one bunk, while Thunberg, her father, and a cameraman occupy the other three. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Grace Kelly's Grandson, Pierre Casiraghi, Is Sailing with Climate Activist Greta Thunberg," 22 Aug. 2019 Those members will then choose the remaining members, all of whom will be overseen by an independent trust Facebook plans to establish to handle logistical matters such as the budget. Washington Post, "Facebook unveils charter for its ‘Supreme Court,’ where users can go to contest the company’s decisions," 17 Sep. 2019 What’s the best way to handle this situation without making an enemy of a neighbor? -- FED UP WITH FREELOADING DEAR FED UP: Your neighbor may not be clear about the rules. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Fashion-conscious family can’t get over cousin’s frumpy new wife," 16 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handle

Statistics for handle

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for handle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!