a handle on

handle on

1. A good physical hold on something. Make sure you've got a handle on your end of the couch before we try to lift it.
2. A newfound understanding of a topic or concept. Once I got a handle on how to operate the new system, I found that it made my job much easier.
See also: handle, on

*a handle on something

Fig. a means of understanding something; an aid to understanding something. (*Typically: get ~ have ~ give someone ~.) Let me try to get a handle on this. Now that I have a handle on the concept, I can begin to understand it.
See also: handle, on
References in periodicals archive ?
What it tells people is that the city has failed for decades to get a handle on the gangs and the cultural and economic forces that perpetuate them.
There are some best practices that can help you get a handle on this fast growing and changing technology.