Dictionary

1handicap

noun hand·i·cap \ˈhan-di-ˌkap, -dē-\

Definition of HANDICAP

1
a :  a race or contest in which an artificial advantage is given or disadvantage imposed on a contestant to equalize chances of winning
b :  an advantage given or disadvantage imposed usually in the form of points, strokes, weight to be carried, or distance from the target or goal
2
a :  a disadvantage that makes achievement unusually difficult
b sometimes offensive :  a physical disability
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Examples of HANDICAP

  1. His shyness was a handicap in his job.
  2. She's been practicing a lot and her handicap has gone down from 18 to 12.

Origin of HANDICAP

obsolete English handicap, a game in which forfeit money was held in a cap, from hand in cap
First Known Use: 1754

2handicap

verb

: to make success or progress difficult for (someone)

: to make a judgment about the likely winner of a race or contest

handicappedhandicap·ping

Full Definition of HANDICAP

transitive verb
1
a :  to give a handicap to
b :  to assess the relative winning chances of (contestants) or the likely winner of (a contest)
2
:  to put at a disadvantage

Examples of HANDICAP

  1. It's very hard to handicap the election at this point.
  2. <the baseball player's small size did not handicap him in the least>

First Known Use of HANDICAP

1852
HANDICAPPING Defined for Kids

1handicap

noun hand·i·cap \ˈhan-di-ˌkap\

Definition of HANDICAP for Kids

1
:  a disadvantage that makes progress or success difficult <Shyness is a handicap for a salesman.>
2
:  a contest in which someone more skilled is given a disadvantage and someone less skilled is given an advantage
3
:  the disadvantage or advantage given in a contest

Word History of HANDICAP

Handicap, probably short for hand in cap, was originally a sort of game in which two people would try to trade things of unequal value. A third person would be appointed as umpire to set an extra amount that would even out the value of the items. Some money would then be put in a cap, and the traders would signal agreement or disagreement with the bargain by putting their hands in the cap and taking them out full or empty. Later, horse races were arranged by such rules, with the umpire deciding how much extra weight the better horse should carry. The word handicap was eventually extended to other contests, and also came to mean the advantage or disadvantage given to a contestant.

2handicap

verb
hand·i·cappedhand·i·cap·ping

Definition of HANDICAP for Kids

:  to put at a disadvantage
Medical Dictionary

handicap

noun hand·i·cap \ˈhan-di-ˌkap\

Medical Definition of HANDICAP

1
:  a disadvantage that makes achievement unusually difficult
2
sometimes offensive :  a physical disability

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