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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 manhandling
Historical Examples
  • You know he's got a system of manhandling that's near the record in these parts.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • Presently the giant paused in manhandling his men, and sniffed the air.

    The Moon Colony William Dixon Bell
  • By manhandling Bud Hemmingway for wrapping up the wrong ankle, maam!

    The Ranchman Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Forgive me for manhandling you—and all the rest, if you can!

    The Lamp in the Desert

    Ethel M. Dell
  • They passed two more parties of aliens on the move, manhandling with them bulky objects the Terran could not identify.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • If you know your little book, you'll come through at once and save yourself a manhandling.

    The Day of Days Louis Joseph Vance
  • Yet, in a truer sense, he felt that the necessity of manhandling him would be the final touch in this degrading interview.

    Queed Henry Sydnor Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for manhandling


/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 manhandling



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 manhandling



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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