Etymology
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handle (n.)
Old English handle "a handle" (plural handla), formed from hand (n.) with instrumental suffix -el (1) indicating a tool in the way thimble was formed from thumb, spindle from spin, spindle from spin, ladle from lade, etc. The slang sense of "nickname" is first recorded 1870, originally U.S., from earlier expressions about adding a handle to (one's) name (1833), that is, a title such as Mister or Sir. To fly off the handle (1833) is a figurative reference to an ax head (to be off the handle "be excited" is recorded from 1825, American English). To get a handle on "get control of" is recorded by 1919.
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handle (v.)
Middle English hondlen, handlen, "touch with the hands, hold in the hands, fondle, pet," also "to deal with, treat, manhandle," from Old English handlian "to touch or move with the hands," also "deal with, discuss;" formed from hand (n.), perhaps with a frequentative suffix, as fondle from fond. Cognate with Old Norse höndla "to seize, capture," Danish handle "to trade, deal," Old High German hantalon "feel, touch; manage," German handeln "to bargain, trade." Related: Handled; handling. Meaning "to act towards" (someone, in a certain manner, usually with hostility or roughness) is from c. 1200. The commercial sense "to trade or deal in" was weaker in English than in some other Germanic languages, but it strengthened in American English (by 1888) from the notion of something passing through one's hands, and see handler.
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mishandle (v.)

"to maltreat," late 14c. (implied in mishandling), from mis- (1) "badly, wrongly" + handle (v.). Related: Mishandled.

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jughandle (n.)
also jug-handle, "handle of a jug," 1816, from jug (n.) + handle (n.). As a figure of this shape, from 1846. Sense of "tight curved road used for turns" is from 1957.
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handling (n.)
Old English handlung "action of touching or feeling," from handlian (see handle (v.)). Meaning "way in which something handles" (especially a motor vehicle) is from 1962.
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handlebar (n.)
also handle-bar, 1867 in reference to bicycles, from handle (n.) + bar (n.1). Handlebar mustache is from 1932, American English, from similarity of shape; the comparison, if not the phrase, dates to at least 1911.
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handler (n.)
late 14c., "one who handles" anything, agent noun from handle (v.). Specific sense of "one engaged in trade" is from 1690s; that of "prizefighter's assistant" (1916) was earlier used in reference to dogfights and cockfights (1825).
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treadle (n.)
"lever worked by foot," c. 1400, from Old English tredel "step, stair, sole of the foot," from tredan "to tread" (see tread (v.)) + instrumental suffix -el (1). Compare handle (n.).
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ladle (n.)
"large, long-handled spoon for drawing liquids," late Old English hlædel "ladle" (glossing Latin antlia), from hladan "to load; to draw up water" (see lade) + instrumental suffix -el (1) expressing "appliance, tool" (compare handle (n.)).
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