Quick Summary

The Latin root word man means “hand.” This root word is the word origin of a number of English vocabulary words, including manuscript, manufacture, and manicure. An easy way to remember that man means “hand” is through the word manual, an adjective which describes a task done by “hand.”

Manage Handy "Man"

The Latin root word man means “hand.” This “handy” word root will let you manhandle English words with man in them!

Let’s talk about the many “handy” man words one finds in the English language. One of the advantages that humankind has is an opposable thumb, which greatly helps with the ability to manipulate tools, or operate them with the “hands.” When the Industrial Revolution began, there was a lot of manual labor, or work by “hand.” When items were manufactured, they were primarily made by “hand.” Overseeing those workers was the manager, the one who “handled” the workers to get the most effective work out of them. The manager had to make sure that the right maneuvers were being performed by those workers, or the right work by their “hands.” And of course the manager could probably get more positive work out of the laborers if he were to stick to his manners, or the social “handiness” of saying such things as “please” and “thank you.” His manners would really have to be in tip-top shape when overseeing those who had to work with manure, etymologically animal fertilizer which is spread by “hand!”

After all that difficult work by hand, what could be better than getting a manicure to take care of those hard-working “hands?”

Can you guess what the words manacle and emancipation have in common with American History and with each other? When the slaves in the United States were freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation (etymologically “the taking of people’s ‘hands’ out of their restraints”) Proclamation, their actual and social manacles, or handcuffs that kept their “hands” bound in servitude, were forever taken away. The Emancipation Proclamation was a key manuscript, or document written by “hand,” that was issued in the midst of the American Civil War.

I hope that you will now be able to automatically instead of manually know the “handy” root word man!

  1. manipulate: operate by ‘hand’
  2. manual: of being done by ‘hand’
  3. manufacture: make by ‘hand’
  4. manage: lead by ‘hand’
  5. maneuver: a working by ‘hand’
  6. manners: social ‘handiness’
  7. manure: animal fertilizer which is spread by ‘hand’
  8. manicure: a taking care of the ‘hands’
  9. manacle: a restraint that binds the ‘hands’
  10. emancipation: a setting free of the ‘hands’
  11. manuscript: document written by ‘hand’


  • manacle

    A manacle is a circular, usually metallic device used to chain someone's wrists and/or ankles together.

  • legerdemain

    Legerdemain is the skillful use of one's hands or the employment of another form of cleverness for the purpose of deceiving someone.

  • amanuensis

    An amanuensis is a secretary who copies out information that is dictated to them.

  • manufacture

    When workers manufacture things, they make a lot of them, usually with the help of machines.

  • manual

    Manual work is done with the hands.

  • manage

    When you manage to do something, you are able to do it even though it is difficult.

  • emancipation

    freeing someone from the control of another

  • manager

    someone who controls resources and expenditures

  • maneuver

    direct the course

  • manicure

    trim carefully and neatly

  • manifest

    provide evidence for

  • manifesto

    a public declaration of intentions (as issued by a political party or government)

  • manipulate

    influence or control shrewdly or deviously

  • mannerism

    a behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual

  • manners

    social deportment

  • manumission

    the formal act of freeing from slavery

  • manumit

    free from slavery or servitude

  • manure

    spread manure, as for fertilization

  • manuscript

    the form of a literary work submitted for publication

Related Word Parts

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.