I encountered an occurrence of the word "handle", which is strange to me, in an article, here is an excerpt:

The cow, revered by Indian upper caste Hindus as a Mata (mother), has been used to spur hate against religious and other minorities such as Muslims and Dalits. Killing or consuming cow meat is a religious taboo for pious upper caste Hindus.

Dalit handles on Twitter posted pictures and videos of protesters.

It looks like a noun in the plural form, because "Dalit" is not a name, but an adjective here. But the only noun meanings I have been able to find are:

  • the part by which a thing is held, carried, or controlled
  • a name or nickname
  • the feel of goods, especially textiles, when handled
  • the total amount of money bet over a particular time or at a particular event

Neither of these seems to fit the context. "A leader" would fit, but there is nothing similar in the list.

So could anyone tell me, please, what is the meaning of the word "handle" here?

  • 4
    Since the beginning of the Internet, and probably before (eg ham radio), a handle means a nickname, a pseudonym, a username. And from there by synecdoche or metonymy, it has come to mean "the person who has the handle". So people (handles, or users) on Twitter who are or seem Dalit, are posting pictures and videos. Equivalently, handles which appear to belong to Dalit people are.... – Dan Bron Jul 21 '16 at 11:35
  • @DanBron I have understood it. It means Dalit users on Twitter posted .... Thank you – user907860 Jul 21 '16 at 11:40
  • Yep, "handle", meaning "name" or "nickname", was used by ham radio operators well before there was anything resembling the internet. Since many early computer hobbyists were also ham radio operators, it's natural that the term would have been carried over. – Hot Licks Jul 21 '16 at 11:43

An online handle is often a pseudonym or username for a person online. Typically, a username is referred to as a handle when the the username is synonymous with the actual person's identity

a name of a person or place, especially a strange one:

Dictionary Cambridge

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  • What does this mean, could you clarify: the username is synonymous with the actual person's identity? I mean could you give a couple of examples? – user907860 Jul 21 '16 at 13:38

Googling "Dalit handles" the first result is from the Washington Post

Much like the “Black Twitter” movement in the United States, Dalits with popular Twitter handles are now routinely flexing their muscles on the ...

Dalits are a group of people in India. The twitter handle is the twitter username: @Username.

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