Definition of dead man's handle in English:

Share this entry

dead man's handle

Pronunciation: /ˌded ˌmanz ˈhandl/
(also dead man's pedal)


(Especially in a diesel or electric train) a lever that acts as a safety device by shutting off power when not held in place by the driver.
Example sentences
  • Similarly, although technology abounds, the system that appears to get most usage - the ‘dead man's handle’ in trains - is said to be far from minimising the risk associated with becoming tired on the job.
  • It is NOT a stand alone device intended to be used as a ‘dead man's handle’; that is in a similar manner to the systems used in the rail industry to stop the locomotive in the event that the operator becomes incapable for any reason.
  • He made frantic attempts to find some sort of ‘dead man's handle’ with which to shut the machine down and drop the platform, but could not.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dead man's han·dle

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.