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See more synonyms for mishandle on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), mis·han·dled, mis·han·dling.
  1. to handle badly; maltreat: to mishandle a dog.
  2. to manage badly: to mishandle an estate.
  3. to lose or misplace: to mishandle baggage.
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Origin of mishandle

First recorded in 1490–1500; mis-1 + handle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

err, botch, flub, muff, fumble, mistreat, misuse, bungle, misdirect, blow, goof, harm, pervert, overlook, blunder, confound, abuse, misapply, misconduct, prostitute

Examples from the Web for mishandle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. (tr) to handle or treat badly or inefficiently
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper