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[man-han-dl, man-han-dl] /ˈmænˌhæn dl, mænˈhæn dl/
verb (used with object), manhandled, manhandling.
to handle roughly.
to move by human strength, without the use of mechanical appliances.
Origin of manhandle
1425-75; late Middle English. See man1, handle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for manhandle
Historical Examples
  • You're going to open your mouth and tell me what you mean, if I have to manhandle you.

    The Brand of Silence Harrington Strong
  • You can manhandle me, but you can't make me turn against Sidney Prale.

    The Brand of Silence Harrington Strong
  • If you have touched a button and called some fool clerk, I'll manhandle you!

    The Brand of Silence Harrington Strong
  • The only way he could stop her would be with violence, and he didn't want to manhandle her.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
  • But it never pays to manhandle that particular brand of tippler.

    Parrot & Co.

    Harold MacGrath
  • “The next time you manhandle a fellow, just be good enough to ask whether he is a friend or an enemy,” he shouted out.

    The Young Rajah W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for manhandle


/ˈmænˌhændəl; ˌmænˈhændəl/
verb (transitive)
to handle or push (someone) about roughly
to move or do by manpower rather than by machinery
Word Origin
C19: from man + handle; sense 1 perhaps also influenced by Devon dialect manangle to mangle
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 manhandle

mid-15c., "wield a tool," also, late 15c., "to attack (an enemy)," from man (n.) + handle (v.). Nautical meaning "to move by force of men" (without levers or tackle) is attested from 1834, and is the source of the slang meaning "to handle roughly" (1865).

[T]he two Canalers rushed into the uproar, and sought to drag their man out of it toward the forecastle. Others of the sailors joined with them in this attempt, and a twisted turmoil ensued; while standing out of harm's way, the valiant captain danced up and down with a whale-pike, calling upon his officers to manhandle that atrocious scoundrel, and smoke him along to the quarter-deck. [Melville, "The Town-Ho's Story," "Harper's" magazine, October 1851]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for manhandle



To treat roughly; beat; banjax, clobber: They manhandled him pretty thoroughly before they let him go (1865+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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