Meaning of HANDLE in English


I. ˈhand ə l, ˈhaan-, rapid -n ə l noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English handel, from Old English handle; akin to Middle Low German hantel handle; derivatives from the root of English hand (I)

1. : a part that is designed especially to be grasped by the hand or that may be grasped by the hand (as for lifting or steering)


a. : something that resembles a handle in appearance, use, or function

b. : something (as a pretext or opportunity) that may be figuratively seized as a means of dealing with some larger abstract unit

the only handle he has for laying hold of the future — Dixon Wecter

the handle by which the writer grasps reality — Max Lerner & Edwin Mims


a. slang : name

bore an odd handle

with the heavenly handle of St. Thomas — Newsweek

: title

an Englishman with a handle to his name — Baron or something

b. dialect : a given name that is somewhat unusual

what did they go and give the poor kid a handle like that for — Edna Reynolds

4. : hand 20

a well-scoured acetate fabric will have a soft springy handle — Dyestuffs


[ handle (II) ]

: the total amount of money bet on a race, game, or event or over a period of time (as a season)

6. chiefly New Zealand : a measure of beer approximately one pint

- off the handle

II. verb

( handled ; handled ; handling -( ə )liŋ ; handles )

Etymology: Middle English handelen, from Old English handlian; akin to Old High German hantalōn to take with the hands, Old Norse höndla to handle, seize; derivatives from the root of English hand (I)

transitive verb


a. : to touch, feel, hold, take up, move, or otherwise affect with the hand : use the hands upon

handle a material to find out how rough it is

please do not handle the merchandise

b. : to manage in using with the hands (as a spade or a weapon) : ply , manipulate , wield

handle a scythe

handle a gun with precision

excellent at handling a horse

c. of a batsman in cricket : to pick up or touch with the hand (a ball in play) except at the request of the fielding side — used especially in the phrase out, handled the ball


a. : to deal with or treat of in writing or speaking or in the plastic arts (as a theme, subject, argument, or objection)

the writer handles the matter briefly and concisely

told him how to handle color in using oil paints

b. : to conduct oneself in relation to : assume an attitude to


(1) : manage , control , direct

was asked to handle the staff of researchers in the absence of the director

a lawyer who handles the affairs of several corporations

(2) : to have immediate physical charge in the care and training of (an animal)

a good man to handle his stable of horses

also : to hold and incite (a sporting animal or bird) in a match

(3) : to train (a pugilist) and act as the second during a fight

(4) : to engage professionally in showing or exhibiting (an animal) in a show-ring

d. : to supervise, oversee, or control (as a worker) in such a way as to encourage a maximum of work output or persuade to a particular course of action or conduct

a boss whose special gift was an ability to handle men

e. : to deal with : act upon : dispose of : perform some function with regard to

a period in which to handle the day's mail and clear up back business

told how much freight was handled at the port of New York

a disposal unit that could handle the city's garbage

f. : to trade in : engage in the buying, selling, or distributing of (a commodity)

will be handling new and used cars

: have or cause to pass through one's hands in commercial transactions


(1) : to perform or do to the point of completeness or success

a man who would really handle the job

(2) : to drink (intoxicating drinks) without losing the normal control of one's faculties or actions or acting in foolish ways

could not handle liquor and always began to giggle and get maudlin after two drinks

3. in hunting : kill

4. : to move up and down or draw out and replace (hides) in the pit in the process of tanning — see handler 3

5. : to be competent enough or fit to act upon, perform, manage, direct, solve, or deal with successfully in some other way

a singer unable to handle the difficult passages of the score

equal to handling any amount of business that came along

unable to handle the boys

his inability to handle so difficult a problem — Sherwood Anderson

a faucet that handles hot and cold water simultaneously

a typewriter that can handle almost any number of carbons

6. : to have within its jurisdiction

a court that handles only probate matters

intransitive verb

: to act, behave, or feel in a certain way when handled or directed

bought a car that handles well

the schooner … handles easily — Kenneth Roberts

the dog handles well in field trials

specifically : to submit obediently to direction or control

the dog handled well in the trials


handle , manipulate , wield , swing , and ply can mean in common to deal with as with the hands, especially in an easy or dexterous manner. handle implies at the least enough skill, and usually a specified degree more, to accomplish one's end

knew better than most men how to handle a blade — L.C.Douglas

able to handle a foreign language with proficiency

doubted that their economy could ever handle more than the natural population increase — Time

manipulate implies dexterity and adroitness in handling, especially a mechanical or technical skill, and extends to suggest, in figurative use, a dealing with something in a crafty, artful, often fraudulent way

the kind of courage required for mountaineering, for manipulating an aeroplane, or for managing a small ship in a gale — Bertrand Russell

was able to manipulate sequences of words in blank verse in a manner which is quite his own — T.S.Eliot

agencies by which some human beings manipulate other human beings for their own advantage — John Dewey

a genius of legal dishonesty in manipulating stocks

wield implies mastery and vigor in the handling of a tool, weapon, or other implement

the longbow, which was so tall that the man wielding it had to pull the string back to his eye or ear — Tom Wintringham

a past master in wielding a golf club

wield the scalpel — G.B.Shaw

wield tremendous political power — Green Peyton

he wields … a very capable scholarship that gives backbone to his work — N.L.Rothman

swing in literal use implies a wide sweep of action

swing a ball bat

being able to swing an oar — H.A.Chippendale

but in an extended figurative use it can imply the successful handling of something large or difficult in relation to one's capacities

a task too hard for him to swing

swing a big deal in high finance

ply is interchangeable with handle or wield when great diligence or industry is implied

tell them where it will best repay them to ply their pickaxes and spades — F.R.Leavis

the experts plied their pens — R.F.Harrod

Synonym: see in addition treat .

- handle with gloves on

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.