han·​dle | \ ˈhan-dᵊl How to pronounce handle (audio) \

Definition of handle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a part that is designed especially to be grasped by the hand
2 : something that resembles a handle
3a : title sense 4 a royal handle
b : name also : nickname went by his childhood handle
4 : hand sense 9c the smooth handle of silk
5 : the total amount of money bet on a race, game, or event
6 : a means of understanding or controlling can't quite get a handle on things
off the handle
: into a state of sudden and violent anger usually used with fly seemed ready to fly off the handle


handled; handling\ ˈhan(d)-​liŋ How to pronounce handle (audio) , ˈhan-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of handle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to try or examine (as by touching, feeling, or moving) with the hand handle silk to judge its weight
b : to manage with the hands handle a horse
2a : to deal with in writing or speaking or in the plastic arts He handles the topic briefly in his book.
b : to have overall responsibility for supervising or directing : manage a lawyer handles all my affairs
c : to train and act as the assistant for (a boxer) handles featherweight boxers
d : to put up with : stand can't handle the heat
3 : to act on or perform a required function with regard to handle the day's mail
4 : to engage in the buying, selling, or distributing of (a commodity)

intransitive verb

: to act, behave, or respond in a certain way when handled or directed a car that handles well

Other Words from handle


handled \ ˈhan-​dᵊld How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective
handleless \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​(l)əs How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective


handleable \ ˈhan-​dᵊl-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce handle (audio) \ adjective

Examples of handle in a Sentence

Noun He held the shovel by the handle. The handles on the bag were torn. Verb Handle the fruit carefully or it will bruise. The baked potatoes were too hot to handle with our bare hands. He knows how to handle a motorcycle. He handles his motorcycle well. She learned how to handle a weapon. She handles all the bookkeeping. The system is handled by the main computer. She's proven that she can handle anything. The airport handles both passenger and cargo flights. She couldn't handle being away from her children for more than a couple of days.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While programs exist to provide a variety of different services to the homeless population, a shortage of resources in some areas hamper efforts to get a handle on the problem, officials said. Joe Tash, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Jan. 2022 The Biden administration has been pressed to get a handle on the issue, which has a complex web of forces behind it including a logjam at ports and labor shortages. Andy Meek, BGR, 8 Dec. 2021 First, his team has to get a handle on running two productively, while continuing to excel with its IMSA DPi program, but further growth could be on the horizon. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Dec. 2021 As a part of this, publishers need to get a handle on not just their site analytics, but their customer analytics as well. David Kostman, Forbes, 7 Dec. 2021 Immunologists and vaccinologists are now trying to get a handle on how bad the current variant-vaccine mismatch might be. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 2 Dec. 2021 The federal government has struggled to get a handle on cryptocurrency and how to regulate it. Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2021 Oakland’s struggle to get a handle on violence this year has prompted divergent solutions and debate over police spending between Mayor Libby Schaaf and the City Council, as well as among members of the council itself. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Nov. 2021 When successful, the technique also helps firefighters get a handle on wildfires faster. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 11 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That means fewer workers to handle a greater volume of returns. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 14 Jan. 2022 Dealing with a Phoenix team that is more than competent on both ends of the floor is going to be too much for Indiana to handle here. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 14 Jan. 2022 Police even went so far as to warn anyone involved in a collision with an Olympics vehicle to avoid contact with people on board and wait for a special team to handle the situation. Huizhong Wu, chicagotribune.com, 13 Jan. 2022 Police even went so far as to warn anyone involved in a collision with an Olympics vehicle to avoid contact with people on board and wait for a special team to handle the situation. Huizhong Wu, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Jan. 2022 In fact, there’s a giant warehouse by Portland International Airport filled with a pile of servers that handle billions in off-track horse wagering for races held in a number other states. John Canzano, oregonlive, 13 Jan. 2022 The sanitation workers who handle daily pick-ups are 56% vaccinated, said James Bentley, spokesman for the department. Emily Opilo, baltimoresun.com, 12 Jan. 2022 With 146 rushing yards and four total touchdowns, Vaughn was too much for overmatched LSU to handle in the Wildcats' 42-20 Texas Bowl win. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 12 Jan. 2022 Maguson also said the court, not attorneys, would handle juror questioning. Amy Forliti, ajc, 11 Jan. 2022

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for handle

Noun and Verb

Middle English handel, from Old English handle; akin to Old English hand

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Time Traveler for handle

Time Traveler

The first known use of handle was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near handle

hand language


hand lead

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Statistics for handle

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for handle



English Language Learners Definition of handle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a part of something that is designed to be held by your hand



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

: to touch, feel, hold, or move (something) with your hand
: to manage or control (something) with your hands
: to do the work required for (something)


han·​dle | \ ˈhan-dəl How to pronounce handle (audio) \

Kids Definition of handle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part by which something (as a dish or tool) is picked up or held

Other Words from handle

handled \ -​dəld \ adjective a short-handled broom


handled; handling

Kids Definition of handle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to touch, feel, hold, or move with the hand Please don't handle the merchandise.
2 : to manage or control especially with the hands He knows how to handle a motorcycle.
3 : manage sense 1, direct She handles all the money.
4 : to deal with or act on Firing—the final step in the process … —was handled well by no man.— Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard
5 : to deal or trade in This store handles electronics.
6 : to put up with I can't handle this heat.

Other Words from handle

handler \ ˈhand-​lər \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on handle

Nglish: Translation of handle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handle for Arabic Speakers


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