have handle on


a part of a thing made specifically to be grasped or held by the hand.
that which may be held, seized, grasped, or taken advantage of in effecting a purpose: The clue was a handle for solving the mystery.
a person's name, especially the given name.
a person's alias, nickname, or code name.
a name or term by which something is known, described, or explained.
the total amount wagered on an event, series of events, or for an entire season or seasons, as at a gambling casino or in horse racing: The track handle for the day was over a million dollars.
the total amount of money taken in by a business concern on one transaction, sale, event, or series of transactions, or during a specific period, especially by a theater, nightclub, sports arena, resort hotel, or the like.
hand ( def 27 ).
Informal. a way of getting ahead or gaining an advantage: The manufacturer regards the new appliance as its handle on the Christmas market.
verb (used with object), handled, handling.
to touch, pick up, carry, or feel with the hand or hands; use the hands on; take hold of.
to manage, deal with, or be responsible for: My wife handles the household accounts. This computer handles all our billing.
to use or employ, especially in a particular manner; manipulate: to handle color expertly in painting.
to manage, direct, train, or control: to handle troops.
to deal with (a subject, theme, argument, etc.): The poem handled the problem of instinct versus intellect.
to deal with or treat in a particular way: to handle a person with tact.
to deal or trade in: to handle dry goods.
verb (used without object), handled, handling.
to behave or perform in a particular way when handled, directed, managed, etc.: The troops handled well. The jet was handling poorly.
fly off the handle, Informal. to become very agitated or angry, especially without warning or adequate reason: I can't imagine why he flew off the handle like that.
get/have a handle on, to acquire an understanding or knowledge of: Can you get a handle on what your new boss expects?

before 900; (noun) Middle English handel, Old English hand(e)le, derivative of hand; (v.) Middle English handelen, Old English handlian (cognate with German handlen, Old Norse hǫndla to seize); derivative of hand

handleable, adjective
handleability, noun
handleless, adjective
overhandle, verb (used with object), overhandled, overhandling.
prehandle, verb (used with object), prehandled, prehandling.
rehandle, verb (used with object), rehandled, rehandling.

14. sell, vend, carry, market; hawk, peddle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To have handle on
World English Dictionary
handle (ˈhændəl)
1.  the part of a utensil, drawer, etc, designed to be held in order to move, use, or pick up the object
2.  (NZ) a glass beer mug with a handle
3.  slang a person's name or title
4.  a CB radio slang name for call sign
5.  an opportunity, reason, or excuse for doing something: his background served as a handle for their mockery
6.  the quality, as of textiles, perceived by touching or feeling
7.  the total amount of a bet on a horse race or similar event
8.  informal fly off the handle to become suddenly extremely angry
9.  to pick up and hold, move, or touch with the hands
10.  to operate or employ using the hands: the boy handled the reins well
11.  to have power or control over: my wife handles my investments
12.  to manage successfully: a secretary must be able to handle clients
13.  to discuss (a theme, subject, etc)
14.  to deal with or treat in a specified way: I was handled with great tact
15.  to trade or deal in (specified merchandise)
16.  (intr) to react or respond in a specified way to operation or control: the car handles well on bends
[Old English; related to Old Saxon handlon (vb), Old High German hantilla towel]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. handle, formed from hand in the sense of a tool in the way thimble was formed from thumb. The verb is O.E. handlian "to touch or move with the hands." Akin to O.N. höndla "th seize, capture," Dan. handle "to trade, deal," Ger. handeln "to bargain, trade." The commercial sense was weaker in
Eng. than in some other Gmc. languages, but it emerged in Amer.Eng. (1888) from the notion of something passing through one's hands. The slang sense of "nickname" is first recorded 1870. Handlebar first recorded 1887 (as two words), in reference to bicycles; of mustaches, it is first recorded 1933. To fly off the handle (1843) is a figurative reference to an axe head. To get a handle on "get control of" is first recorded 1972. Handler "boxer's assistant" (1950) was originally in dogfights or cockfights (1825).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature