noun \ˈhan-di-ˌkap, -dē-\

Definition of HANDICAP

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

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


transitive verb

: to make success or progress difficult for (someone)

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


Full Definition of HANDICAP

a :  to give a handicap to
b :  to assess the relative winning chances of (contestants) or the likely winner of (a contest)
:  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



noun \ˈhan-di-ˌkap\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of HANDICAP

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


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In sports and games, a method of offsetting the varying abilities or characteristics of competitors in order to equalize their chances of winning. Handicapping takes many, often complicated, forms. In horse racing, a track official known as the handicapper may assign weights to horses according to their speed in previous performances; the presumed fastest horse must carry the most weight. In golf, two unequal players may have a close match by allowing the poorer player a handicap, a certain number of uncounted strokes based on earlier performances. In sailboat racing, dissimilar boats compete under handicapping formulas that add time to the faster boats' actual elapsed time for a race; thus, the winner of a race may not be the first to finish but rather the boat that performs best in relation to its design. See also bookmaking; gambling.


Next Word in the Dictionary: handicapped
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