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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Floyd Spence owns a concrete business in Florida's panhandle, and his son says Dad lost a contract over Akeem's demonstration. Adam H. Beasley, miamiherald, "The Miami Dolphins' Akeem Spence is no Ndamukong Suh. And why that might be a good thing," 12 June 2018 Engineers are expected to spend six months studying the feasibility of piping carbon dioxide from White Energy's ethanol facilities in Plainview and Hereford, both located in the Texas panhandle, with operations slated to begin as soon as 2021. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Oxy considering carbon capture project," 19 June 2018 This town in the center of Oklahoma’s panhandle has seen a huge demographic shift, flipping from majority-white to majority-Hispanic in the span of two decades. Tim Craig, Washington Post, "Answering the call," 1 June 2018 The first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season made landfall late Monday on the Florida panhandle, bringing heavy rainfall and strong winds to the coastal area normally packed with Memorial Day crowds. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "South Carolina anchor, photographer killed covering Alberto as storm makes landfall," 28 May 2018 Parts of Florida’s panhandle and Louisiana, including New Orleans, are under a Tropical Storm watch. Michael Williams,, "Alberto: Tropical storm watch issued for part of Florida for Memorial Day weekend," 26 May 2018 As expected, reactions to the sign found in Texas' panhandle have been mixed. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Billboard tells liberals to keep driving until they've left Texas," 20 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near panhandle

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Statistics for panhandle

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for panhandle

The first known use of panhandle was in 1846

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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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