handicap

noun
hand·​i·​cap | \ ˈhan-di-ˌkap How to pronounce handicap (audio) , -dē- \

Definition of handicap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

handicap

verb
handicapped; handicapping

Definition of handicap (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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

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Examples of handicap in a Sentence

Noun His shyness was a handicap in his job. She's been practicing a lot and her handicap has gone down from 18 to 12. Verb It's very hard to handicap the election at this point. the baseball player's small size did not handicap him in the least
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 1936, famed Olympic runner Jesse Owens raced a horse in a 100-yard dash and won thanks in part to a 40-yard handicap). Emily Barone, Time, "Watch Michael Phelps Race 6 Sea Animals in 60 Seconds," 19 July 2017 LNK classes have done everything from installing handicap doors at Redwood to creating a Healthy Newborn site for Transitions that serves mothers going through addiction recovery. Brent Cooper, Cincinnati.com, "Column: Leadership NKY critical to the region," 17 July 2017 A vehicle was blocking the handicap ramp Tuesday in the first block of Taft Street. The Aegis, "Police blotter: From Aberdeen to Fallston to Street," 14 July 2017 Participants must be 21 years old or older and have an official USGA handicap. Naperville Sun, "Park district holding men's, women's and youth golf tourneys," 7 July 2017 When Britain leaves the EU, British financial services companies would lose the automatic right to operate in all the other 27 EU states, a big handicap. Washington Post, "The pain and gain of Brexit vote: British economy a year on," 23 June 2017 One man, who has a handicap, had to escape through a window, according to media reports. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity.com, "Residents escape intense Kansas City house fire, one through a window," 21 June 2017 With a USGA 1.3 handicap, Mercer is a latecomer to golf, having taken it up in 2005 at the end of his freshman high school year at Gary (Ind.) Roosevelt. Gregg Voss, chicagotribune.com, "La Grange Park resident enjoys pro-am round with Brittany Lincicome," 29 June 2017 These are just a few examples of the many companies that have excelled by treating transparency not as a handicap, but as a competitive advantage. Sophie Bakalar, Fortune, "What Chipotle Can Teach Companies About Honesty With Customers," 24 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Apparently, its reliance on a solid axle up front, the only non-independent front end left in this group, did not handicap the Cherokee. Kevin Smith, Car and Driver, "Seven 1990 SUVs Tested: Ford vs. GMC vs. Isuzu vs. Jeep vs. Mitsubishi vs. Nissan vs. Toyota," 22 June 2020 Vegas Golden Knights The matchup against Vegas is tougher to handicap since the Stars not only just played them twice but also played them early, an overtime loss on Dec. 13 and a 4-2 win on Nov. 25. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Stars playoff preview: How does Dallas stack up against its round robin opponents?," 27 May 2020 The better to handicap them later in events like the Breeders’ Cup, presuming horseplayers are not blinded by 3½-year-olds. Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Santa Anita to Los Alamitos deal appears dead," 10 Apr. 2020 Yet his words in Winterset—the fruit of eight years thinking about the vice presidency—provide a useful framework for handicapping the competition for the heartbeat-away job. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Who Will Be Joe Biden’s Pick for Vice President?," 27 Apr. 2020 Teams these days will move three players to the right side of the infield to handicap left-handed hitters like Votto. Sridhar Pappu, The Atlantic, "Can Joey Votto Outsmart Age?," 11 Apr. 2020 In practice, the turnover in stocks within equity indices is not large enough to handicap the passive funds against active managers. IPOs are increasingly rare. The Economist, "Buttonwood Why active bond investors can beat the index when active equity investors can’t," 29 Feb. 2020 In the same token, President Trump is slightly handicapped as well. Siraj Hashmi, Washington Examiner, "2020 countdown: The Wisconsin primary," 7 Apr. 2020 Johnny Avello, a longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker, has handicapped the Oscars for the past 25 years, for entertainment value, rather than for actual betting. Katherine Sayre, WSJ, "Lights, Camera, Bet! Oscar Gambling Is Going Mainstream," 2 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handicap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of handicap

Noun

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for handicap

Noun

obsolete English handicap, a game in which forfeit money was held in a cap, from hand in cap

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Time Traveler for handicap

Time Traveler

The first known use of handicap was in 1751

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Statistics for handicap

Cite this Entry

“Handicap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handicap. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for handicap

handicap

noun
How to pronounce handicap (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of handicap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

sometimes offensive : a physical or mental condition that may limit what a person can do : a physical or mental disability
: a problem, situation, or event that makes progress or success difficult
golf : a number that shows a golfer's level of skill and that is used to allow golfers of different abilities to compete with each other

handicap

verb

English Language Learners Definition of handicap (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make success or progress difficult for (someone)
US : to make a judgment about the likely winner of a race or contest

handicap

noun
hand·​i·​cap | \ ˈhan-di-ˌkap How to pronounce handicap (audio) \

Kids Definition of handicap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

handicap

verb
handicapped; handicapping

Kids Definition of handicap (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put at a disadvantage

handicap

noun
hand·​i·​cap | \ ˈhan-di-ˌkap How to pronounce handicap (audio) \

Medical Definition of handicap

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

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handicap

noun
han·​di·​cap

Legal Definition of handicap

: a physical disability (as a bodily impairment or a devastating disease)

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Comments on handicap

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