[man-han-dl, man-han-dl]

verb (used with object), man·han·dled, man·han·dling.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for manhandle

maltreat, maul, mistreat, pull, handle, paw, beat, damage, abuse, batter, push, roughhouse, mangle

Examples from the Web for manhandle

Historical Examples of manhandle

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for manhandle


verb (tr)

to handle or push (someone) about roughly
to move or do by manpower rather than by machinery

Word Origin for manhandle

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

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