mis·​han·​dle | \-ˈhan-dᵊl \
mishandled; mishandling; mishandles

Definition of mishandle 

transitive verb

1 : to treat roughly : maltreat

2 : to deal with or manage wrongly or ignorantly

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Synonyms for mishandle


maltreat, manhandle, maul, rough (up)

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Examples of mishandle in a Sentence

The police mishandled the investigation. Apples are easily bruised when they are mishandled. The shortstop mishandled the throw. The quarterback fumbled when he mishandled the snap.
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Recent Examples on the Web

There's no question that Trump ran on the idea that past presidents had mishandled dealings -- especially regarding trade -- with other countries. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "The absolute chaos of Donald Trump's G7 meeting (and what it means moving forward)," 11 June 2018 Most Catholics would agree that any bishop found mishandling abuse claims or shuffling around abusive priests should be removed. James Martin, WSJ, "The Missing Link in Sex-Abuse Reform," 20 May 2018 Seavey denies giving his team the drug and has said officials for the Iditarod nonprofit badly mishandled the whole affair. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Mushers say the Iditarod can be saved. Here’s how.," 5 Mar. 2018 But, while this may be the first acknowledgement of mishandling a situation, this is not the first time the vetting of a key Administration member has caused a headache for the White House. Alana Abramson, Time, "Rob Porter's Resignation Raises Questions About White House Vetting," 10 Feb. 2018 Top sheriff's officials also refused to take responsibility for mishandling the whistleblowing complaint, according to the report obtained Tuesday by The Oregonian/OregonLive after a public records request. Noelle Crombie, OregonLive.com, "Sheriff's Office repeatedly ignored detective who bungled sex crime cases: audit," 12 June 2018 Spear is under fire from students for his department’s mishandling of the April 2013 complaints about Level from Jameson and distance runner Maggie Miller. Chadd Cripe, idahostatesman, "A third woman had complained to U of I about football player at center of controversy | Idaho Statesman," 29 Mar. 2018 His family and friends fear the case may have been mishandled by local police, who delayed seeking the Texas Rangers’ assistance in solving the high-profile crime. Zeke Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Schertz slaying stumps investigators," 26 Mar. 2018 His attorneys argued that prosecutors in St. Louis mishandled the investigation, resulting in a criminal case being dropped Monday. Matt Pearce, latimes.com, "The lawyer who got $120,000 to bring down Missouri's GOP governor says he was told it came from a wealthy Republican," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mishandle.' 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 mishandle

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for mishandle

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for mishandle

The first known use of mishandle was in 1530

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English Language Learners Definition of mishandle

: to deal with or manage (something) badly or incorrectly

: to touch or treat (something) in a way that causes damage

sports : to fail to catch or hold (a ball) properly

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Comments on mishandle

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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