a ring-shaped metal device that can be locked around a person's wrist, usually one of a pair connected by a short chain or linked bar; shackle: The police put handcuffs on the suspect.

verb (used with object)

to put handcuffs on.
to restrain or thwart (someone) by or as if by handcuffing: The amendments handcuffed the committee and prevented further action.

Nearby words

  1. handclap,
  2. handclasp,
  3. handcraft,
  4. handcrafted,
  5. handcraftman,
  6. handed,
  7. handedness,
  8. handel,
  9. handel, george frederick,
  10. handel, george frideric

Origin of handcuff

First recorded in 1635–45; hand + cuff1

Related formsun·hand·cuff, verb (used with object)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for handcuffs

British Dictionary definitions for handcuffs



(tr) to put handcuffs on (a person); manacle


(plural) a pair of locking metal rings joined by a short bar or chain for securing prisoners, 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

Word Origin and History for handcuffs



1640s as a decorative addition to a sleeve; 1690s as a type of restraining device, from hand (n.) + cuff (n.). Old English had hondcops "a pair of hand cuffs," but the modern word is a re-invention. The verb is first attested 1720. Related: Handcuffed; handcuffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper