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[hand-kuhf] /ˈhændˌkʌf/
a ring-shaped metal device that can be locked around a person's wrist, usually one of a pair connected by a short chain or linked bar; shackle:
The police put handcuffs on the suspect.
verb (used with object)
to put handcuffs on.
to restrain or thwart (someone) by or as if by handcuffing:
The amendments handcuffed the committee and prevented further action.
Origin of handcuff
1635-45; hand + cuff1
Related forms
unhandcuff, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for handcuff
  • Tech companies handcuff our files to protect against digital pirates.
  • He also said that he had a handcuff key in his pants.
  • We talked with one of the protestors as he watched the police handcuff one of his friends.
  • So saying, they handcuff him, and carry him away to the regiment.
  • It certainly might, but only if credit markets don't handcuff shippers.
  • When suspects turn away or reel, cops or border-security agents can nab and handcuff them.
  • Then he asked them not to handcuff him, and the request was denied.
  • But now the computer is being put to use to figure out a way to build a better handcuff and improve upon the ones in use now.
  • Tiring of these fickle shareholders, funds are starting to handcuff them.
  • They would handcuff and blindfold the prisoners before they left the room.
British Dictionary definitions for handcuff


(transitive) to put handcuffs on (a person); manacle
(pl) a pair of locking metal rings joined by a short bar or chain for securing prisoners, etc
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
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Word Origin and History for handcuff

1640s as a decorative addition to a sleeve; 1690s as a type of restraining device, from hand (n.) + cuff (n.). Old English had hondcops "a pair of hand cuffs," but the modern word is a re-invention. The verb is first attested 1720. Related: Handcuffed; handcuffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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