To handle something is to control it, the way an elephant handler might handle an elephant, or the way you would use a handle to lift a suitcase. If you're panicking, a friend might suggest you "get a handle on yourself."

How to get a handle on the word handle? Start with the thumb. Much like the word “thimble” is derived from “thumb,” “handle” essentially refers to an object held "in hand," or placed under your control. Handle can also have a more abstract meaning, such as understanding or grasping a concept. You should be able to handle geometry before you start trig, right? A handle is also slang for a nickname. "What's your handle?" is another way of saying "What's your name?"

Definitions of handle

v touch, lift, or hold with the hands

“Don't handle the merchandise”
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catch or pick up (balls) in baseball or cricket
handle clumsily
hold something in one's hands and move it
handle roughly
lay hands on
manage with the hands
manipulate the mouse of a computer
fiddle with, twiddle
manipulate, as in a nervous or unconscious manner
manage, wield
handle effectively
control, operate
handle and cause to function
knead, massage, rub down
manually manipulate (someone's body), usually for medicinal or relaxation purposes
knead, work
make uniform
mix, ruffle, shuffle
mix so as to make a random order or arrangement
fiddle, monkey, tamper
play around with or alter or falsify, usually secretively or dishonestly
diddle, fiddle, play, toy
manipulate manually or in one's mind or imagination
Type of:
make physical contact with, come in contact with

v manage or wield effectively

manage, wield
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wield vigorously
operate like a pump; move up and down, like a handle or a pedal
sweep, swing, swing out
make a big sweeping gesture or movement
give a spurt of fuel to
Type of:
hold something in one's hands and move it

v be in charge of, act on, or dispose of

“This blender can't handle nuts”
care, deal, manage
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administer, administrate
work in an administrative capacity; supervise or be in charge of
organise, organize
cause to be structured or ordered or operating according to some principle or idea
cause to operate or function
come to grips, get to grips
deal with (a problem or a subject)
dispose of
deal with or settle
mind, take care
be in charge of or deal with
bring into common action, movement, or condition
deal with simultaneously
deal with in a routine way
misconduct, mishandle, mismanage
manage badly or incompetently
be in charge of
carry on, conduct, deal
direct the course of; manage or control
deal with; usually used with a form of negation
arrange, order, put, set up
arrange thoughts, ideas, or temporal events
give, have, hold, make, throw
organize or be responsible for
rationalise, rationalize
structure and run according to rational or scientific principles in order to achieve desired results
administer a pontifical office
territorialise, territorialize
organize as a territory
reorganise, reorganize, shake up
organize anew
collectivise, collectivize
bring under collective control; of farms and industrial enterprises
manage or run
guide, steer
be a guiding or motivating force or drive
head, lead
be in charge of
manage, oversee, superintend, supervise
watch and direct
operate, run
direct or control; projects, businesses, etc.
carry on illegal business activities involving crime
direct the taking of
Type of:
command, control
exercise authoritative control or power over

v interact in a certain way

Handle the press reporters gently”
do by, treat
regard or consider in a specific way
address, cover, deal, plow, treat
act on verbally or in some form of artistic expression
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bemock, mock
treat with contempt
cut, disregard, ignore, snub
refuse to acknowledge
treat unjustly; do wrong to
handle with kid gloves
handle with great care and sensitivity
treat as a criminal
treat carefully
handle roughly
ride roughshod, run roughshod
treat inconsiderately or harshly
treat snobbishly, put in one's place
treat in a rough or boisterous manner
brutalise, brutalize
treat brutally
do well by
treat with respect and consideration
gloss over, skate over, skimp over, slur over, smooth over
treat hurriedly or avoid dealing with properly
abuse, ill-treat, ill-use, maltreat, mistreat, step
treat badly
baby, cocker, coddle, cosset, featherbed, indulge, mollycoddle, pamper, spoil
treat with excessive indulgence
bait, cod, rag, rally, razz, ride, tantalise, tantalize, taunt, tease, twit
harass with persistent criticism or carping
blackguard, guy, jest at, laugh at, make fun, poke fun, rib, ridicule, roast
subject to laughter or ridicule
treat or speak of with contempt
infringe on the rights of
kick around
treat badly; abuse
treat harshly or unfairly
victimise, victimize
make a victim of
Type of:
act together or towards others or with others

v show and train

“The prize-winning poodle was handled by Mrs. Priscilla Prescott”
Type of:
control, keep in line, manipulate
control (others or oneself) or influence skillfully, usually to one's advantage

v act on verbally or in some form of artistic expression

address, cover, deal, plow, treat
do by, treat
interact in a certain way
comprehend, cover, embrace, encompass
include in scope; include as part of something broader; have as one's sphere or territory
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theologise, theologize
treat from a theological viewpoint or render theological in character
discourse, discuss, talk about
consider or examine in speech or writing
talk at great length about something of one's interest
talk shop
discuss matters that are related to work
Type of:
broach, initiate, moot
bring up a topic for discussion

n the appendage to an object that is designed to be held in order to use or move it

“he grabbed the hammer by the handle
grip, handgrip, hold
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ax handle, axe handle
the handle of an ax
broom handle, broomstick
the handle of a broom
the stock or handle of a whip
haft, helve
the handle of a weapon or tool
the handle of a sword or dagger
hoe handle
the handle of a hoe
a round handle
mop handle
the handle of a mop
the handle of a pan
pommel, saddlebow
handgrip formed by the raised front part of a saddle
a handgrip that a gymnast uses when performing exercises on a pommel horse
rake handle
the handle of a rake
the handle end of some implements or tools
gunstock, stock
the handle of a handgun or the butt end of a rifle or shotgun or part of the support of a machine gun or artillery gun
basket hilt
a hilt with a basket-shaped guard for the hand
bitstock, brace
a carpenter's tool having a crank handle for turning and a socket to hold a bit for boring
butt, butt end
thick end of the handle
doorhandle, doorknob
a knob used to release the catch when opening a door (often called `doorhandle' in Great Britain)
horn, saddle horn
a high pommel of a Western saddle (usually metal covered with leather)
pistol grip
a handle (as of a gun or saw) shaped like the butt of a pistol
(music) a knob on an organ that is pulled to change the sound quality from the organ pipes
Type of:
a part that is joined to something larger

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