handle

1 of 2

noun

han·​dle ˈhan-dᵊl How to pronounce handle (audio)
1
: a part that is designed especially to be grasped by the hand
2
: something that resembles a handle
3
a
: 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
handled adjective
handleless adjective

handle

2 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
handleable adjective
Phrases
off the handle
: into a state of sudden and violent anger
usually used with fly
seemed ready to fly off the handle

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
As of Monday, the handle @realDonaldTrump boasted 87 million followers. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 21 Nov. 2022 Lada got rid of the disk brakes for drum brakes, built the body panels out of much thicker steel, and (strangely) added an exterior starting handle. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 21 Nov. 2022 This horn straight razor, which has a gorgeous wood handle made by French cutlery manufacturer Thiers Issard (read: super fancy), will give him the closest shave possible. Sara Klausing, Men's Health, 20 Nov. 2022 On top of the steel frame liners, Spyderco has fitted a handle made from linen micarta. Outside Online, 18 Nov. 2022 The handle design is comfortable to hold and allows for easy, quick cleanup after dinner without extra steps or products. Brigitt Earley, Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022 That soggy state of affairs makes the stick umbrella from Certain Standard, with its massive, 46-inch wide canopy, sturdy fiberglass frame and cork composite handle (easy to grip, even with sweaty fingers) look pretty great. WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 The mug, while weighing a heavy 1 pound, 7 ounces, has a sturdy handle that will help decrease the risk of dropping the vessel. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 The Leonard landscape rake ($59.99, amleo.com) has an ash handle with a steel tube welded to the tine section. Lindsey M. Roberts, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2022
Verb
There isn’t a skin woe this MZ Skin mask can’t handle. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 23 Nov. 2022 And those coarse foods that a regular blender can’t handle? Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 22 Nov. 2022 Amazon uses other robotic arms in its warehouses, including two models that handle packages. Liz Young, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 Stationary models require a lot more space and involve more maintenance but can handle bigger projects. Alex Rennie, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2022 Chopping, simmering and frying may seem like basic kitchen tasks that most adults can handle, and, peeling back the question of enjoyment, hitting adulthood generally means being able to feed yourself more than a frozen dinner. Zoe Hewitt, Variety, 17 Nov. 2022 Green said the key is making sure kids can handle other tasks independently first. Zach Wichter, USA TODAY, 16 Nov. 2022 The staff of nearly two dozen, most of whom are foreign-born, can handle more than 200 services from cosmetic procedures such as beak adjustments and feather replacements to as invasive surgery, Alkarkhi said. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Personalized stockings are a craft that even the least artistic folks can handle, and everyone will have a fun time decorating their own. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 16 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near handle

Cite this Entry

“Handle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handle. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

handle 1 of 2

noun

han·​dle ˈhan-dᵊl How to pronounce handle (audio)
1
: a part that is designed to be grasped by the hand
2
off the handle
: into a state of sudden and violent anger
flew off the handle and yelled at my friend
handled adjective

handle

2 of 2

verb

handled; handling ˈhan-(d)liŋ How to pronounce handle (audio)
-dᵊl-iŋ
1
a
: to touch, feel, hold, or move with the hand
b
: to manage with the hands
handle a horse
2
a
: to deal with or act on
handle a problem
b
: control entry 1 sense 1b, direct
an accountant handles my financial concerns
c
: to put up with : stand
can't handle the heat
3
: to deal or trade in
a store that handles rugs
4
: to act, behave, or respond in a certain way when managed or directed
a car that handles well
handler
ˈhan-(d)lər
-dᵊl-ər
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on handle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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