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

to handle badly; maltreat: to mishandle a dog.
to manage badly: to mishandle an estate.
to lose or misplace: to mishandle baggage.

Nearby words

  1. misgovernment,
  2. misguidance,
  3. misguide,
  4. misguided,
  5. misguidedly,
  6. mishanter,
  7. mishap,
  8. mishappen,
  9. mishawaka,
  10. mishear

Origin of mishandle

First recorded in 1490–1500; mis-1 + handle

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

Examples from the Web for mishandle

  • That misstep turned the narrative into how Romney would handle (or mishandle) a crisis, rather than keeping the focus on Obama.

  • I hope they'll be all right careful of them pianos and not mishandle them so they'll get out of tune.

    Bucky O'Connor|William MacLeod Raine
  • A man hasn't many privileges in this country, but he might at least be allowed to mishandle his own rifle.

    Life's Handicap|Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for mishandle



(tr) to handle or treat badly or inefficiently
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 mishandle



c.1500, from mis- (1) + handle (v.). Related: Mishandled; mishandling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper