Get a handle on it

Posted by ESC on May 07, 2003

In Reply to: Origin of "Get a handle on it" posted by J on May 07, 2003

: Anyone know where it came from? more info? thanks

Here's a guess.

GET A HANDLE ON IT - "Find a way of coping with a difficult problem or a hard to hold object. My guess is that the originator of this term was a sportswriter or broadcaster describing a football, which is notoriously hard-to-hold. Most likely he said the player 'couldn't find the handle on it.' By 1977 the meaning had expanded beyond sports, as demonstrated in the 'Manchester Guardian Weekly.' 'It follows that if we could only get a better handle on the arms-building phenomenon, we could do something about it, turn it around." From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).