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When trying to find the origin of the term "pan handle" as in to beg, I came across a reference in Wikipedia to the Missouri panhandle, also know as 'bootheel'. The article mentioned that this was an economically depressed area. Perhaps, people from this area had taken to begging. Someone may then have referred to them as 'panhandlers' indicating their place of origin, but it became a tag for a street beggar.

Panhandler Definition[edit]

My first contact with the word "panhandler" was in California in the 1950's. It was around for a long time before. Many people I have asked for a definition, have told me the term "panhandler" refers to the devastatingly poor people who migrated from the Oaklahoma "Panhandle" during the Great Depression. The term is now applied to anyone who begs for money, especially one who begs with a container to hold the money.

--Thomas J. Dunigan 21:12, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

See [Online Etymology Dictionary]. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 23:11, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

There is an old Persian word, "panohand", which means refugee. I have no information that connects it to the terms "panhandle" or "panhandler", though I thought it might be worth mentioning if the term has been in existence since before the Great Depression. A connection between the two terms is very unlikely, though I felt it may be of some use down the road to include this unlikely connection. -- 21:45, 4 August 2011 (UTC)