mis·​han·​dle | \ (ˌ)mis-ˈhan-dᵊl How to pronounce mishandle (audio) \
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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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 Some of the uptick in bear nuisance reports is caused by campers who mishandle their food. Bob Timmons, Star Tribune, "As Minnesotans rush outdoors for an escape, bad behavior follows," 3 Aug. 2020 Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner. Isabel Reynolds, Bloomberg.com, "Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China," 10 May 2020 Crozier’s abrupt firing by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly ultimately cost Modly his job as well for mishandling the relief of command and for his subsequent tirade delivered to the crew of the ship. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Pentagon to use aggressive COVID-19 testing to keep troops deployed, ships at sea, and recruits in training," 15 Apr. 2020 Washington and Beijing have blamed one another for mishandling the spread of coronavirus as each country grapples with the pandemic's widening fallout that has battered the world's two largest economies. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Trump uses China as a foil when talking coronavirus, distancing himself from criticism," 20 Mar. 2020 The Administration could credibly have criticized China’s early mishandling of the virus, and its efforts to control international scrutiny of the virus’s origins. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "The Folly of Trump’s Blame-Beijing Coronavirus Strategy," 10 May 2020 After China mishandled and hid the virus from the public, the epidemic dramatically worsened. Ken Paulson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As we fight the coronavirus pandemic, best weapons are truth and transparency," 19 Mar. 2020 The beneficiaries sued for $748 million to restore their pension fund after discovering that, in 2008, managers mishandled money, violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and leaving their plan underfunded. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Supreme Court chief John Roberts reminds USB that no bank is too big to fail," 14 Jan. 2020 But Moore mishandled it, recovered and then hurried a throw to first base that sailed over Healy’s head for his first error that allowed a run to score. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Whew! Mariners hang on to beat Red Sox despite three ninth-inning errors," 30 Mar. 2019

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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Time Traveler for mishandle

Time Traveler

The first known use of mishandle was in 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Mishandle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mishandle. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for mishandle


How to pronounce mishandle (audio)

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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