handicap

noun
hand·i·cap | \ˈhan-di-ˌkap, -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

The dining hall is handicapped accessible and air conditioned. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 10 July 2018 Both West powers will be noticeably handicapped, as Curry is sidelined with a knee sprain and Leonard is missing in action due to a mysterious quadriceps injury. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "2018 NBA Playoffs: The Biggest Questions For Each Series," 12 Apr. 2018 As a result, Los Angeles and other cities that refused to adhere to the funding requirements were put at a disadvantage and would be handicapped again in future years, Real concluded. Dakota Smith, latimes.com, "Money for police cannot be pegged to cooperation with ICE, judge rules," 12 Apr. 2018 But from a handicapping perspective, Justify is far from bulletproof. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Favorite Justify won't win Kentucky Derby, but here's the horse that will," 3 May 2018 Many candidates have not filed robust campaign contribution and spending reports, so handicapping those with the most support is difficult at this early stage. Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post, "Alexandria council’s Democratic primary draws a dozen for six seats," 30 Mar. 2018 Thurber literally handicaps Will, who loses his leg in a bombing as an FBI rescue team leader 10 years before the events of the film. Katie Walsh, chicagotribune.com, "'Skyscraper' review: Dwayne Johnson shows off his dramatic acting chops," 11 July 2018 In fact, Pennsylvania labor unions represent one out of every eight workers in the state and this ruling could substantially handicap them if unions need to spend more money on recruitment and retention, rather than camapigning. Tauhid Chappell, Philly.com, "Supreme Courts decision could affect Pennsylvania politics, two casinos open in Atlantic city | Morning Newsletter," 28 June 2018 One-time accounting changes related to last year’s tax law also handicapped some firms. Telis Demos, WSJ, "Big Banks Clear Fed’s Stress Tests," 21 June 2018

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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Statistics for handicap

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Time Traveler for handicap

The first known use of handicap was in 1751

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More Definitions for handicap

handicap

verb

English Language Learners Definition of handicap

: to make success or progress difficult for (someone)

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

handicap

noun
hand·i·cap | \ˈhan-di-ˌkap \

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 \

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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