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90s Slang You Should Know


[han-dl-bahr] /ˈhæn dlˌbɑr/
Usually, handlebars.
  1. the curved steering bar of a bicycle, motorcycle, etc., placed in front of the rider and gripped by the hands.
  2. handlebar moustache.
a bar or rod, usually of metal and having a handle at one end, used for handling, guiding, or maneuvering some object.
Origin of handlebar
First recorded in 1885-90; handle + bar1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for handlebars
Historical Examples
  • Groups of soldiers and police on bicycles with electric torches fastened to their handlebars were passing at intervals.

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • “It was this that made it possible;” and he patted the handlebars of the motorcycle.

  • Time and time again I was thrown off by fouling the side of the rut and plunged headlong over the handlebars into the road.

  • I find it easier to grasp the handlebars with the palms of my hands alone.

  • He thrust his matchbox back in its waterproof pouch, and, taking his machine by the handlebars, began to trundle it up the slope.

  • Why don't you take me for a ride on the handlebars of your new motorcycle sometime?

    Plowing On Sunday Sterling North
  • The handlebars were slewed around until they stood at right angles to the machine.

  • Stoop they did, bending low over the handlebars of their bicycles.

    Frank Merriwell's Alarm Burt L. Standish
  • Away he went, bending over the handlebars and sending the bicycle flying over the ground.

    Frank Merriwell's Alarm Burt L. Standish
  • Why did you jump off when by a twist of the handlebars you could have saved the machine?

    Dick the Bank Boy Frank V. Webster
British Dictionary definitions for handlebars


plural noun
(sometimes sing) a metal tube having its ends curved to form handles, used for steering a bicycle, motorcycle, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for handlebars



also handle-bar, 1867 in reference to bicycles, from handle (n.) + bar (n.1). Of mustaches, first recorded 1933.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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