1. (later use US) the penis.
|graffito in Merry-Thought III 8: A ’Pothecary’s Wife, Who never lov’d her Spouse in all her Life; And for want of his handle, Made use of a candle.|
|in Graffiti (1971) 129: The Girls that love / Have learn’d the Use of Candles; And since that, by Jove [...] We have lost the Use of Handles.|
|Faggots 319: Though there is that patch to which he is accustomed to seeing a handle, now no handle, how to handle?!|
2. the nose.
|Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 610: And thus sleeping, they had barnacles on the handles of their faces.(trans.)|
|Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: The cove flashes a rare handle to his physog; the fellow has a large nose.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|Modern Society 27 Aug. 864: A restless, intriguing, and busy old lady, with an immense handle to her face.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
3. a name, a nickname, a title (esp. as spoken rather than written); thus a handle to one’s name, a title, an honorific.
|Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 353: ‘To The President of the Delegates’ [...] That’s the handle of my Sunday’s name, you must know, my lads.|
|My Cousin in the Army 105: The men [...] With pretty handles to their names;— The Hons. and Barts. and KCB’s.|
|‘Dip, the Tallow-Chandler’ in Out-and-Outer in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 151: They call’d him Dip though his name was Dan, / But he never cares how many handles.|
|Peter Simple (1911) 22: ‘Mister Coxswain! thanky, sir, for giving me a handle to my name,’ replied he.|
|Sam Slick in England I 265: Seein’ that you have no handle to your name [...] it’s most likely you can’t answer.|
|Memoirs of a Griffin I 264: ‘[He] hailed me only last night in the park by my surname, Sir — no prefix, by George, no handle’.|
|Newcomes I 222: She [...] entertains us with stories of colonial governors and their ladies, mentioning no persons but those who ‘had handles to their names,’ as the phrase is.|
|Facey Romford’s Hounds 118: Ar didn’t ken yeer mistress had a handle tir her name.|
|Wild Boys of London I 83/2: ‘Can you put a handle to it?’ ‘Yes;’ say Adolphus de Villiers.|
|Dick Temple III 42: Barring the handle, you’ve got it right, my lads; John Pogson is my name.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Jan. 9/2: Neither of the ‘handles’ is to be found in ‘Burke’ – not even in the ‘Chads’ list, which enumerates those claiming rank not acknowledged by the authorities.|
|High School Aegis X (15 Feb.) 2–3: Charley wuz his handle?‘’Frisco Kid’s Story’ in|
|Marvel XV:373 Jan. 4: What’s yer handle?|
|Strictly Business (1915) 263: That’s a swell handle [...] Mine’s McManus.‘Past One at Rooney’s’ in|
|Day Book (Chicago) 26 May 13/2: ‘Did you ever hear about a man named Lord Cowdray?’ ‘No,’ said the sentry. [...] ‘How would I be knowing one of those foreign wops with handles to their names?’.|
|Big Town 101: But they’s only one in the bunch that’s got any handle to her name; that’s Lady Perkins.|
|On Broadway 27 Aug. [synd. col.] Clifton Webb’s real handle is Clifton Raum.|
|Red Wind (1946) 167: ‘What’s your handle?’ ‘Dodge Willis, El Paso.’.‘Goldfish’ in|
|We Were the Rats 5: What’s all this—? Are ya havin’ me on? What’s that there fancy handle ya give me?|
|Gaudy Image (1966) 17: It’s my handle [...] Passion Rat, they call me.|
|Dinkumization or Depommification 128: ‘I’m Ossie. Me cobber’s Skim.’ These were the handles by which they wanted to be known.|
|Psychotic Reactions (1988) 53: They even had the class to pick one of the most righteous handles of all time: the Troggs.in|
|1985 (1980) 156: Watch it [...] I’ve got a handle to my name.|
|Glitter Dome (1982) 139: Skaters [...] thought he said Wheels, a natural handle for a skater. Hence, Mr Wheels.|
|Homeboy 222: The handle Gypsy went with the new cover for the tatoos and rings.|
|(con. 1975–6) Steel Toes 73: My name’s Lily [...] Whats your handle?|
|Times (2) 30 Apr. 8/1: A 49-year-old trucker who wished to be known only by his handle (the moniker truckers use on their radio system).|
|Alphaville (2011) 63: The mixture of hyper-speed Sicilian and slow English that earned native guys like himm the behind-the-back handle ‘zips’.|
|Ringer [ebook] n.p.: ‘Got any jellies, Stauner?’ It’s some wee ned I don’t even know, but he knows my handle.|
|Observer 13 Apr. 17/4: His Twitter handle [...] seems to sum up his mission: keeping it real.|
4. a fool.
|Modern Flash Dict.|
|Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.|
5. (US) an influence on; a role in.
|Dick Temple III 89: His signing the false statement gives us all the handle we require.|
|Hell’s Angels (1967) 51: Otto, president of the chapter, couldn’t get a handle anywhere.|
|Corner (1998) 316: The idea man granted renewed standing for having a handle on the caper.|
6. (US Und.) in pl., side-whiskers.
|Vocab. Criminal Sl. 42: handles [...] Limited usage, chiefly by criminals who understand more or less about physiognomical description and disguises. Side-whiskers; ‘mutton chops.’.|
7. (Aus./N.Z.) a pint glass of beer with a handle (as opposed to a ‘straight’ glass); thus half-handle half a pint.
|Eve. Jrnl (Adelaide, SA) 2 June 2/1: Defendant said when the police entered he was in the act of serving a boarder with a ‘handle’ of beer.|
|Nambour Chron. (Qld) 6 June 7/4: Sorry to have to contradict ‘Duglio’, but hope to meet him some day in Young and Jackson’s Bar and, over a long one with a handle on it, tell him personally how greatful we were for the assistance of his Heavies, which enabled us to hng [sic] on to Mont Hemmel until relieved in April.|
|Brown Man’s Burden 40: ‘A handle of beer,’ Mr Puttle was saying easily to the barman.|
|Coll. Stories (1965) 161: The barman took my half-handle to fill it again.‘That Summer’ in|
|Aussie Eng. (1966) 16: Containers run from five-ounce glasses to eighteen gallon kegs. There are middies, schooners, ponies, lady’s waists, butchers, handles, mugs, jugs [etc].|
|Bush Pub (1983) 41: ‘I want a handle of beer with a dash of rum, Burt,’ Joe said.|
|Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 54/2: handle glass of beer with handle; also half-handle; pint and half-pint, in imperial measures.|
|Aus. Word Map [Internet] handle [...] ‘The term handle is used at traditional inner urban/city Melbourne pubs. Generally speaking, it is preferable not to drink from a 'handle' given the similarity to sipping a cup of tea (the handle on the side)’.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].|
8. (US campus) a ring of excess fat around one’s stomach, a ‘spare tyre’.
9. (US) in pl., the female breasts.
|Guys Like Us 128: She wasn’t bad, good legs, nice handles, maybe she’d be there.|
1. (US) to get an understanding of, to find a reference or clue to something.
|Compyrters & People 16 19/2: To get a handle on programming we have got to get a handle on a programmer.|
|Black Enterprise July 26/1: Before you make a move to buy a station, get a handle on the amount of financing you can get.|
|Close Pursuit (1988) 41: Give them a good briefing after [...] he’d managed to get some kind of handle on the thing.|
|Sweet La-La Land (1999) 143: We’re trying to get a handle on this man who killed your friend.|
|Night Gardener 161: We couldn’t get a handle on the killer, hard as we tried.|
2. (US) to calm down, to control oneself.
|Homeboy 209: Get a handle on yourself, girl.|