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 panhandling (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

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Other Words from panhandle


panhandler \ ˈpan-​ˌhan(d)-​lər How to pronounce panhandler (audio) , -​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

Eleven panhandle Waffle House store managers turned off the lights of their 24-hour, hash brown diner establishments and locked the doors. Joe Mario Pedersen,, "‘Smothered, covered and recover’ - be like the Waffle House jump team, when prepping for a hurricane," 5 Aug. 2019 Extreme heat blanketed much of the continent, stretching as far as the Great Lakes and the Texas panhandle. New York Times, "Heat Wave NYC: Live Updates as Dangerous Temperatures Arrive," 20 July 2019 In 1904, crews of men from both the U.S. and Canada started work on the panhandle of Southeast Alaska. Anchorage Daily News, "The thin line between Alaska and Canada," 13 July 2019 The Florida panhandle has seen double red flags go up in some areas, meaning that the dangerous conditions have closed beaches, the National Weather Service said. Madeline Holcombe And Derek Van Dam, CNN, "Barry a triple threat of storm surge, high rivers and flooding as it gets closer to Louisiana coast," 12 July 2019 It is currently centered about 100 miles offshore the Florida panhandle., "Tropical storm in gulf could bring Louisiana 18 inches of rain," 10 July 2019 There have been a few notable July storms in recent years: Hurricane Dennis, July 10, 2005: The Category 3 storm hit the western Florida panhandle. Elizabeth Lawrence, USA TODAY, "July hurricanes 'do happen': A look at past notable storms in the month," 10 July 2019 Bottlenose dolphins are stranding themselves at an unusually high rate in the northern Gulf of Mexico, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle. CBS News, "Number of bottlenose dolphin deaths triple in Gulf of Mexico, NOAA reports," 14 June 2019 More than 4 million people are under flash flood watches from south-central Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle as the system moves over the warm waters, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Millions under flash flood risk as a tropical system strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mississippi Jackson: The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi is asking 16 cities to eliminate local laws that penalize panhandling. USA TODAY, "Barbie, Tupac, scorpions and Red Vines: News from around our 50 states," 19 July 2019 In the fall of 2010, Ellis was arrested for panhandling with a cardboard sign on the side of the highway. J.d. Crowe |,, "Alabama’s homeless veterans: Marine vet beats alcohol and cancer," 9 July 2019 Almost every day for the past six years, students at the University of Texas at Austin would see David Carter panhandling near campus. Robyn Merrett,, "Homeless Texas Man Returns to College to Finish Degree Over 40 Years After Dropping Out," 5 June 2019 With frustration over homelessness, panhandling and public drinking simmering in Midtown Anchorage, some of the district’s business owners are in disagreement over the city’s response to the problem. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "Midtown business owners table anti-homelessness resolution," 27 June 2019 Childress panhandled to get money for accommodation and food. Christopher Harress |,, "Second woman sought in bizarre alleged kidnapping of homeless Mobile woman’s baby," 14 June 2019 After 6 years of panhandling on the Drag, David Carter has been readmitted to @UTAustin and will resume his degree this week. Ali Gostanian, NBC News, "Formerly homeless man readmitted to University of Texas after leaving school in 1975," 5 June 2019 Most nights, Jeremias Ortiz has to shoo away homeless people who sleep and panhandle outside his restaurant, El Salvadoreño in Duarte. Alexa Díaz,, "Rise in homeless numbers prompts outrage and alarm across L.A. County," 5 June 2019 The specialists approached a man on West End Avenue and 79th Street, who was rolling up his sleeping bag before panhandling. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "In the Heat, New York City Tries to Move the Homeless Off the Streets," 7 Aug. 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

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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)

US : 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)

chiefly US : 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).


not constant or steady

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