- a person's name, especially the given name.
- a person's alias, nickname, or code name.
- a username, as on a social media website: What's your Twitter handle?
- a name or term by which something is known, described, or explained.
verb (used with object), han·dled, han·dling.
verb (used without object), han·dled, han·dling.
Origin of handle
Synonyms for handle
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for handle
Old English handle, formed from hand (n.) with instrumental suffix -le indicating a tool in the way thimble was formed from thumb. The slang sense of "nickname" is first recorded 1870, originally U.S., from earlier expressions about adding a handle to (one's) name, i.e. a title such as Mister or Sir, attested from 1833. To fly off the handle (1833) is a figurative reference to an ax head (to be off the handle "be excited" is recorded from 1825, American English). To get a handle on "get control of" is first recorded 1972.
Old English handlian "to touch or move with the hands," also "deal with, discuss;" see handle (n.). Akin to Old Norse höndla "to seize, capture," Danish handle "to trade, deal," German handeln "to bargain, trade." Related: Handled; handling. Meaning "to act towards (someone) in a certain manner" (usually with hostility or roughness) is from c.1200. The commercial sense was weaker in English than in some other Germanic languages, but it emerged in American English (1888) from the notion of something passing through one's hands, and cf. handler.
In addition to the idioms beginning with handle
- handle to one's name
- handle with gloves
- fly off the handle
- get a fix (handle) on