pan·​han·​dle | \ˈpan-ˌhan-dᵊl \

Definition of panhandle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a narrow projection of a larger territory (such as a state) the Oklahoma Panhandle


panhandled; panhandling\ˈpan-​ˌhan(d)-​liŋ, -​ˌhan-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of panhandle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to stop people on the street and ask for food or money : beg

transitive verb

1 : to accost on the street and beg from

2 : to get by panhandling

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from panhandle


panhandler \ˈpan-​ˌhan(d)-​lər, -​ˌhan-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Examples of panhandle in a Sentence


The Texas Panhandle is the northernmost part of the state.


He panhandled for his bus fare. There is a law against panhandling in the subway.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Although Hurricane Michael's worst days are over, its death toll has risen to 11 as several smaller towns on Florida's panhandle lie in near-total devastation. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Hurricane Michael Death Toll Rises to 11, Infrastructure in Crisis Throughout Southeast," 11 Oct. 2018 Texas High Plains, Texas While there are several AVAs in Texas, the Texas High Plains area at the heart of the state’s panhandle has been on critics’ radars for years. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "Beyond Napa: 7 Emerging American Wine Regions to Visit Now," 29 Aug. 2018 About 190,000 electric customers lacked power Sunday afternoon in 11 panhandle counties, including nearly all in Gulf and Calhoun counties, according to the state. Scott Calvert, WSJ, "Search-and-Rescue Crews Comb Florida Panhandle," 14 Oct. 2018 The people of the Florida panhandle are facing similar peril today as Hurricane Michael bears down on them as a Category 4 storm. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "What To Take With You on a Disaster Relief Trip," 11 Oct. 2018 One of the largest suppliers of materials for private schools and home-school students across the United States is affiliated with a small Christian college in the Florida panhandle. Beth Kassab,, "Who is behind Christian curriculum companies that supply lessons to Florida's voucher-funded private schools?," 31 May 2018 Forecasters are predicting at least three to six inches of rain across the state, though the western panhandle and south Florida could see rainfall up to 10 inches in the next five days. Elizabeth Koh, miamiherald, "With Alberto looming, Gov. Scott declares a state of emergency for all of Florida | Miami Herald," 26 May 2018 Under congressional direction, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the first of five dams in the 1950s that diverted water away from its traditional path downstream to Florida's panhandle in order to accommodate Georgia. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court sides with Florida in decades-long dispute with Georgia over water rights," 27 June 2018 According to news reports, Pensacola Beach, which is located on the Florida panhandle and borders the Gulf of Mexico, is currently the only beach reporting the presence of sea lice. Amanda Macmillan,, "What Are Sea Lice, and How Do You Avoid Their Red, Itchy Rash?," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That fact-finding will help everyone better understand what issues like panhandling are tied, and how greatly, to PADS Lake County, Cunningham said. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Waukegan partners with Lake County Coalition for Homeless in wake of PADS Lake County complaints," 10 June 2018 Police are searching for a group of robbers who lure in South Loop victims with a man panhandling from a wheelchair. Paige Fry,, "Man in wheelchair lured South Loop robbery victims," 9 July 2018 In July 2017, following a series of court rulings that found anti-panhandling laws elsewhere in the nation to be unconstitutional, Orlando overturned its 2000 ordinance that limited solicitation to a series of boxes outlined in blue paint. Kate Santich,, "Downtown Orlando panhandling soaring, leaders say," 9 July 2018 One Tulsa teacher last year resorted to panhandling to pay for school supplies. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "Teachers shelling out nearly $500 a year on school supplies, report finds," 15 May 2018 Porter said the town has a few options to limit panhandling: allowing panhandling only during certain hours; banning agressive panhandling; deeming specific roads unsafe for panhandling; or banning it in public locations like bus stops or parks. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Glastonbury Looking At Ways To Deter Panhandling," 24 May 2018 But efforts to deal with the region’s homeless population have included ordinances aimed at limiting where homeless people may panhandle or live. Sam Stanton And Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Sacramento hit with federal lawsuit seeking to overturn city’s panhandling ordinance | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Apr. 2018 Police had already ticketed the woman several times already this year for panhandling, police said. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "West Allis woman arrested for darting in front of cars on Lincoln Avenue to beg drivers for money," 15 May 2018 The city of Olympia has removed references to panhandling from its municipal code in response to a Washington state Supreme Court decision that partially invalidated a Lakewood ordinance restricting panhandling. Abby Spegman, The Seattle Times, "Olympia gets rid of its anti-panhandling rules following state Supreme Court decision," 6 Jan. 2018

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


1846, in the meaning defined above


1890, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for panhandle


back-formation from panhandler, probably from panhandle, noun; from the extended forearm

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about panhandle

Dictionary Entries near panhandle

pan gravy







Statistics for panhandle

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for panhandle

The first known use of panhandle was in 1846

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for panhandle



English Language Learners Definition of panhandle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a part of a land area (such as a state) that is narrow and sticks out from a larger area



English Language Learners Definition of panhandle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to ask strangers for money in a public place (such as on a sidewalk)

More from Merriam-Webster on panhandle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with panhandle

Comments on panhandle

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


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!