a rail serving as a support or guard at the side of a stairway, platform, etc.

1785–95; hand + rail1

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World English Dictionary
handrail (ˈhændˌreɪl)
a rail alongside a stairway, etc, at a convenient height to be grasped to provide support

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Too much charting becomes an unnecessary handrail, too many floodlights along
  the dark path.
He wraps five crooked fingers around the handrail beside him.
Escalators are ridden without grasping the handrail.
One end of the handrail is usually anchored to a wall or a railing at the top
  of the stairs.
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