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See also: man-handle


Alternative forms[edit]


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


  • IPA(key): /ˈmænˌhæn.dəl/
  • (file)


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.
    Synonym: rough up
    • 1918, Stewart Edward White, chapter 13, in The Forty-Niners, page 177:
      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.
    Synonyms: mistreat, maltreat
    • 1996 April 21, Barbara Stewart, “Another Harvest: One Farm, One Life”, in New York Times[1], retrieved 6 November 2012:
      She yells at people who manhandle the tomatoes or break the beans.
    • 2021 March 14, Vikram Dodd; Aamna Mohdin; Aubrey Allegretti, “Cressida Dick refuses to quit over vigil policing and dismisses 'armchair critics'”, in The Guardian[2]:
      Britain’s most senior police chief defied pressure to resign as she dismissed “armchair” critics amid widespread outrage over officers manhandling women who were mourning the killing of Sarah Everard.
  4. (transitive) To control (a machine, vehicle, situation, etc.) by means of physical strength.
    • 2010 July 3, Juliet Macur, “Riders Gird for Four Challenging, Engrossing Stages of the Tour”, in New York Times[3], retrieved 6 November 2012:
      Riders who succeed on this terrain are able to manhandle their bike as it rattles over the bumps.