have a handle on

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have a handle on

  1. (idiomatic) To understand or grasp.
    To work efficiently, it's important to have a handle on the procedures involved.
  2. (idiomatic) To be in control of, to have power over.
    • 2003, Tony Hillerman, The Sinister Pig, ↑ISBN, page 36:
      But the other three problems had all grown out of assigning jobs to people he had no handle on.
    • 2011, H. Henrietta Stockel, Drumbeats from Mescalero, ↑ISBN, page 82:
      We don't have to report to them anymore, but they still have a handle on our Justice Department and the police.

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