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See also: man-handle


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English manne-handlen, man handelen, equivalent to man (male person) +‎ handle.



manhandle (third-person singular simple present manhandles, present participle manhandling, simple past and past participle manhandled)

  1. (transitive, nautical) To move something heavy by force of men, without aid of levers, pulleys, machine, or tackles.
    • 1876, Herman Melville, "Bridegroom Dick":
      I see him—Tom—on horse-block standing,
      Trumpet at mouth, thrown up all amain,
      An elephant's bugle, vociferous demanding
      Of topmen aloft in the hurricane of rain,
      "Letting that sail there your faces flog?
      Manhandle it, men, and you'll get the good grog!"
  2. (transitive) To assault or beat up a person.
    • 1918, Stewart Edward White, The Forty-Niners, ch. 13:
      The polls were guarded by bullies who did not hesitate at command to manhandle any decent citizen indicated by the local leaders.
  3. (transitive) To mishandle; to handle roughly; to mangle.
    • 1996 April 21, Barbara Stewart, "Another Harvest: One Farm, One Life," New York Times (retrieved 6 Nov 2012):
      She yells at people who manhandle the tomatoes or break the beans.
  4. (transitive) To control (a machine, vehicle, situation, etc.) by means of physical strength.