[man-han-dl, man-han-dl]
See more synonyms for manhandle on
verb (used with object), man·han·dled, man·han·dling.
  1. to handle roughly.
  2. 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. 2018

Related Words for manhandling

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

Examples from the Web for manhandling

Historical Examples of manhandling

  • 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!

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for manhandling


verb (tr)
  1. to handle or push (someone) about roughly
  2. 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 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