to get a handle on something

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - get a handle on

"to get a handle on something"

to find a way to understand a situation in order to control it


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - get a handle on

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  The data set I am working on is enormous. I am not sure how I am going to manage to understand it well enough to do anything meaningful with it.

Colleague 2:  Perhaps if you categorize the data into smaller sets, you will be able to get a handle on it?

Colleague 1:  That's a good idea. I am sure that smaller sets will help me to see some connections that will at least allow me to get started to figure out what to do.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - get a handle on

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Have you got a handle on your job search?

Friend 2:  I think I finally do. It took me days to understand that there are really three different types of jobs that I could apply for. Once I understood that, I made a plan to create three different resumes, one for each type of job.

Friend 1:  Great. Good luck.

to get a handle on something - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,234   click for frequency by country

to get a handle on something - Gerund Form:

Getting a handle on the tricky situation of employees leaving early on Fridays, the manager instituted a new policy.

to get a handle on something - Examples:

1)  ... the categories are ambiguous, and so it has been hard to get a good handle on what's really out there. 

2)  Here are five tips to help you get a better handle on stress: ...

3)  I took some personality and career assessments to get a better handle on my interests, skills, and values.

4)  By understanding these differences you will get a better handle on what makes you tick and you can then decide what you want to do.

5)  It's difficult to get a proper handle on the economics of rail because of its complexity.

6)  The most important thing you can do is get a disciplined handle on your spending. # Debt's a symptom, not the problem. 

7)  ... management tips won't guarantee success, but they will help you get a solid handle on your project and ensure that you're doing all you can to make it ...

8)  ... are running a webcast all about helping mid-size businesses get a true handle on their data and make better use of their IT budgets through improved optimisation.

9)  This job improves daily, as I get a better handle on how to do it and how to make the most of this opportunity, ...

10)  It took, however, reading the comments, to get a better handle on what was meant by " technique " as I'm a humanities student.

11)  Things might change in either direction as we get a better handle on all the details.

12)  ... programming is still a damn difficult thing to get a handle on.

13)  ... without extending the analysis in this way, you can't get a handle on the false-positive rate of your detection hypothesis, ...

14)  You've taken classes, got a handle on putting words together and you've written the most brilliant story in the world ...

15)  As soon as she got a handle on it, she was brilliant. I mean, she locked into it within ...

16)  I have pulled together 30 surprising stats to help marketers get a handle on this mis-understood demographic.

17)  ... form impressions based on a summer college visit. It is hard to get a handle on the culture of a college without the students who are usually in attendance.

18)  ... can better determine the issues between the two of you. Once you get a handle on the problem area, you will have a chance to work it out with ...

19)  But the time has come to get a handle on our important data and plan for the worst case scenario.

20)  ... of magnitude and structure. And that's something we're trying to get a handle on. What is that fundamental economic issue?