door handle

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noun Chiefly British.
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Origin of door handle

First recorded in 1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a door handle?

A door handle is the handle used to open and close a door.

Sometimes, it means the same thing as doorknob. But the word doorknob most often specifically refers to a handle shaped like a knob—a part that sticks out and has a rounded end. Door handles in other shapes might be called doorknobs, but it’s more likely for them to be called door handles or just handles.

Another difference is that doorknobs typically turn. Door handles can turn, but they can also be fixed in place, like a vertical or horizontal bar.

The term door handle can also refer to the one that’s used to open a car door.

Example: I went to open the door and the door handle pulled right off—apparently its screws had gotten loose.

Where does door handle come from?

The first records of the term door handle come from around 1830. The word doorknob is first recorded soon after, around the 1840s.

Door handles on the doors inside a home, like on a bathroom or a closet, often jut out from the door to allow for easy grabbing and turning. They’re such a common part of daily life that we often don’t notice them or think about them—unless they break.

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How is door handle used in real life?

If a door handle has a rounded end that turns, it’s more likely to be called a doorknob.


Try using door handle!

Is door handle used correctly in the following sentence?

I was trapped in the room after the door handle broke off the door.

How to use door handle in a sentence