pan·​han·​dle | \ ˈpan-ˌhan-dᵊl How to pronounce panhandle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce panhandle (audio) , -​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

Other Words from panhandle


panhandler \ ˈpan-​ˌhan(d)-​lər How to pronounce panhandle (audio) , -​ˌhan-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Examples of panhandle in a Sentence

Noun The Texas Panhandle is the northernmost part of the state. Verb He panhandled for his bus fare. There is a law against panhandling in the subway.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Down the block, Derin Turner, and his wife, Heather, had packed up their Airstream trailer and evacuated to the Florida panhandle with their 2-year-old son, Solin, to avoid Ida’s wrath. Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2021 Tornadoes were possible from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle. Steve Garbarino, WSJ, 30 Aug. 2021 Earlier Monday a different storm, Tropical Storm Fred, made landfall on the Florida panhandle in the United States. NBC News, 16 Aug. 2021 Spokane is also a great base to explore Idaho's panhandle (Coeur d'Alene is just a half-hour drive away) and, beyond that, Montana. Christopher Elliott, Forbes, 6 Nov. 2021 The company also created Starliner, the short-timer roller coaster at Cypress Gardens by way of Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Florida’s panhandle. Dewayne Bevil,, 3 Nov. 2021 The coast of Alabama and the Florida panhandle swarm with swimmers and sun lovers in summer, but as the nights grow longer and chillier in fall, the summer crowds go away and leave the shore to anglers. Frank Sargeant, al, 31 Oct. 2021 Some rain or light snow is possible in parts of Wyoming, northern Colorado, northern Utah and the Nebraska panhandle, according to a forecast. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 29 Oct. 2021 But his father did return and took a job running a cattle feed business in the small town of Clovis, near the Texas panhandle. Steven Levy, Wired, 31 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Krivonishchenko was briefly detained by police for playing his mandolin and pretending to panhandle in the train station. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, 10 May 2021 The department has also spent nearly $8,000 on the city's Keys to Work program, which taps people experiencing homelessness or those who panhandle to clean up litter, to clean up around NCAA locations. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, 18 Mar. 2021 City outreach workers found most people who panhandle are experiencing homelessness. Everton Bailey Jr., Dallas News, 3 Feb. 2021 Council member Casey Thomas said the city has to find different solutions to address why people panhandle. Everton Bailey Jr., Dallas News, 3 Feb. 2021 Montgomery has agreed to halt its practice of arresting or ticketing people who panhandle. Connor Sheets |, al, 24 Nov. 2020 People will not be allowed to panhandle within 50 feet of a business or public monument, and e-cigarette and tobacco stores will have to pay greater fines for selling to underage customers starting July 1. Anne Snabes, The Indianapolis Star, 1 July 2020 Meanwhile, residents continued to wander in and out, even panhandling among the sick patients waiting outside the hospital. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, 25 Apr. 2020 Gone are the buskers promoting shows, the panhandling costumed characters, the Naked Cowboy and the fake monks and the school groups and the selfie sticks. Michael Paulson, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for panhandle

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The first known use of panhandle was in 1846

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Panhandle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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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)


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