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

If campaigns are ever to be more than mere horse races, with more than parimutuel punditry handicapping the personalities, then policy debates also need to be seized as educational opportunities. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Winning the Battle of Ideas, But Could Still Lose the War," 10 June 2019 For an extra $20, Pete will handicap for you today’s 6th race at Del Mar, then come to your house to pitch Wiffleballs to your grandkids. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Daugherty's Morning Line: Jim Riggleman shouldn't be praising Cincinnati Reds after loss," 6 June 2018 In a list of Inexact Sciences, baseball scouting ranks somewhere between handicapping a horse race and predicting the weather. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Scouting amateur baseball players is like reading Faulkner blindfolded," 5 June 2018 Enthusiasm for a return to democracy is high, but is tempered with an awareness that new election rules handicap the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which has easily won every national election since 2001. Jerry Harmer, The Seattle Times, "Candidates register for 1st Thai general election since coup," 4 Feb. 2019 The government was handicapped for a time by lack of high-speed craft and men to man them, but this deficiency has now been met. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019 Our handicapping lesson Here’s our weekly contribution from Rob Henie of the WCHR (West Coast Handicapping Report) and the ECHR (East Coast Handicapping Report). John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Learn about handicapping from Rob Henie," 7 July 2018 After all, who wants to spend upwards of $1,000 on a flagship 5G phone that could be handicapped by 5G coverage? Jon Porter, The Verge, "AT&T announces a better 5G Samsung phone, less than 24 hours after the first one," 5 Dec. 2018 One of the concerns is essentially handicapping the field for the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "FedEx Cup to offer $15 million to winner next year," 18 Sep. 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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More Definitions for handicap

handicap

noun

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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