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handle to (one's) name

1. A title added before one's name, as may indicate one's position, profession, or rank. The disgraced doctor was stripped of his medical license and the handle to his name. After marrying the duke, it took some time to get used to having a handle to my name.
2. A nickname or sobriquet. Because of my need for glasses, I had a handle to my name all throughout elementary school: Four Eyes. The Big Apple been the handle to New York City's name since the 1920s.
See also: handle, name

have a handle on (something)

To have a firm, clear understanding or determination of something. I hope everyone has a handle on the material, as you'll be tested on it next week. I thought I had a pretty good handle on English idioms, but I don't understand this one at all!
See also: handle, have, on

go off the handle

To become uncontrollably angry; to lose control of one's temper. It's a shame the candidate allowed himself to go off the handle like that during the debate, as it undermines a lot of the really solid arguments he'd been making up to that point. I know you're upset, but there's no point going off the handle like that. It was just an honest mistake.
See also: handle, off

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

too hot to handle

1. Literally too hot to pick up or touch. The steak just came out of the pan, so it's too hot to handle right now. I'll cut it after it rests.
2. Too taboo or risky for a particular setting or audience. The scandal was a little too hot to handle for the evening news without heavily censoring the details.
See also: handle, hot

get a handle on (something)

To have a firm, clear understanding or determination of something. Go down to the circuit breaker and see if you can get a handle on what's causing the power outages. I'd gotten a pretty good handle on the concept after spending an hour with the tutor.
See also: get, handle, on

handle (one) with kid gloves

To handle with very gentle care, often to the point of coddling. Kid gloves are very soft leather gloves, typically made from the skin of a young goat (a "kid"). I can't stand the way my family always handles us with kid gloves, trying to protect us from every little thing! We'll need to handle the two parties in the merger with kid gloves—both clients are extremely sensitive.
See also: glove, handle, kid

love handles

An accumulation of fat around one's midsection. I need to go back to the gym and start working out again if I want to lose these love handles in time for the wedding.
See also: handle, love

fly off the handle

Fig. to lose one's temper. Every time anyone mentions taxes, Mrs. Brown flies off the handle. If she keeps flying off the handle like that, she'll have a heart attack.
See also: fly, handle, off

*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

handle someone with kid gloves

Fig. to be very careful with a touchy person. Bill has become so sensitive. You really have to handle him with kid gloves. You don't have to handle me with kid gloves. I can take it.
See also: glove, handle, kid

fly off the handle

Lose one's temper, as in Tom flies off the handle at the slightest setback. This metaphoric expression alludes to the loosened head of a hammer flying off after a blow. [Early 1800s]
See also: fly, handle, off

get a fix on

Also, have a fix on; get or have a handle on ; get or have a grasp of . Obtain (or have) a clear determination or understanding of something. For example, I was finally able to get a fix on the specifics of this problem, or No one in the press room had a handle on Balkan history, or Do you have a grasp of the situation? Similarly, give a fix means "provide a clear understanding," as in This briefing will give us a fix on the current situation. The usages with fix and handle are colloquialisms dating from the 1920s; those with grasp are more formal and date from the late 1600s.
See also: fix, get, on

get a handle on

see under get a fix on.
See also: get, handle, on

handle to one's name

A nickname or title, as in He was knighted and now had a handle to his name, or His gluttony earned him a handle to his name, Big Mouth. [First half of 1800s]
See also: handle, name

handle with gloves

Also, handle with kid gloves. Treat with great or very gently, as in She has a terrible temper, so try to handle her with kid gloves. This usage probably alludes to the antonym, handle without gloves, meaning "to treat harshly." Gloves made of kidskin, the hide of a young goat, are soft and pliable, whence the transfer to delicate treatment. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: glove, handle

fly off the handle

If you fly off the handle, you suddenly become very angry. When I finally managed to speak to him, he flew off the handle and shouted down the phone. Note: The reference here is to an axe head which has become loose, and so when someone swings the axe, the axe head flies off.
See also: fly, handle, off

get a handle on something

COMMON If you get a handle on a subject or problem, you understand it and know how to deal with it. When you have got a handle on your anxiety you can begin to control it. Note: You can also say that someone has a handle on a subject or problem to mean that they understand it and know how to deal with it. We don't really have a handle on why some people survive for longer periods than others.
See also: get, handle, on, something

too hot to handle

If someone or something is too hot to handle, they are so dangerous, difficult, or extreme that people do not want to be involved with them. Even for someone of his skill and experience, the situation proved too hot to handle. Wherever he has been based, his host country has eventually found him too hot to handle.
See also: handle, hot

treat someone with kid gloves


handle someone with kid gloves

If you treat someone with kid gloves or handle them with kid gloves, you treat them very carefully, for example because they are very important or because they are easily upset. Some artists have to be handled with kid gloves and apparently Jake thinks Lotte is one of them. This is someone that you will have to treat with kid gloves. Note: Occasionally, people say that they treat or handle something with kid gloves, to mean that they are very careful about it. Even in presidential campaigns, foreign policy is treated with kid gloves. Note: Kid gloves is used in other structures and expressions where you are describing how carefully someone is being treated. We must take off the kid gloves and smash these evil monsters once and for all. They accused him of using kid gloves to deal with violence and intimidation. Note: People sometimes use this expression when they want to suggest that they do not think this kind of treatment is right or necessary. Note: Kid is very soft leather.
See also: glove, kid, treat


1. n. a person’s name or nickname. (Western jargon and then citizens band radio.) My handle is Goober. You can call me Goob.
2. n. a way of dealing with something; a grasp of a problem. As soon as I get a handle on this Wilson matter, I’ll give you a buzz.

(love) handles

n. rolls of fat around the waist that can be held on to during lovemaking. Ted worked out daily, trying to get rid of his love handles.
See also: handle, love


See also: handle

fly off the handle

To become suddenly enraged: flew off the handle when the train was finally canceled.
See also: fly, handle, off

handle (oneself)

1. To conduct oneself in a specified manner: handled herself well in the interview.
2. To be able to defend oneself or fend for oneself: Don't worry about me. I can handle myself.

fly off the handle

To lose one's temper. The image is one of speed, as rapidly as an axe head parting company from the handle during a down stroke. The phrase is credited to the 19th-century humorist Thomas Haliburton.
See also: fly, handle, off
References in periodicals archive ?
The Original Bedside Assistant (BA10W) and the Travel Handles(TM) (BA11W) have a white handle with white poles that go under the mattress.
Here is a frog, which can be added to a handle, and two lizard possibilities that could serve as the entire handle.
There were various colors (blue, white, yellow, and plum) of LEDs for illuminated stand magnifiers, but not the vast difference in intensities of LED handles that there is today.
a retail store in Freeport, Maine, with her husband, Douglas Dillman, agreed with Baron in that function is more important than a fashionable knife handle.
Handle webbing is the most common problem that surprises designers who are unfamiliar with proper handle design principles.
The process of untwisting pushes the handles vertically farther and farther apart, until finally, at the limit, there's a helicoid with just one handle.
Short handguard with leaf sight, carrying handle mounted quadrant sight, and mounting hardware (bracket assembly, screws, bushings, and lacing wire)
Matt Cohen and Roger Eulan will handle this assignment on behalf of the Lansco Corporation.
When it comes to small gardening tools, you want one that's made from a single piece of metal so the handle won't break,'' she stresses.
Ferrous castings are usually shotblasted as early as possible to provide a casting that is clean to manually handle at each work station.
If a green handle appears (see exhibit 10, page 83), you missed aligning the connector with the symbol's connection sites and you need to repeat the process.
I had picked out a maul with a skinny handle, the kind that breaks real easy.
A fourth piece of metal was added inside the handle as a weight to achieve the desired balance.
Our goal was to handle our paper documents as we do our electronic files and allow them to be stored, accessed and routed electronically.
Simple, rugged mechanical conveyors handle a variety of bulk materials.