• IPA: /ˈhændɪkæp/

handicap (plural handicaps)

  1. Something that prevents, hampers, or hinders.
    Age is often a handicap.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0105 ↗:
      Captain Edward Carlisle […] felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, […]; he could not tell what this prisoner might do. He cursed the fate which had assigned such a duty, cursed especially that fate which forced a gallant soldier to meet so superb a woman as this under handicap so hard.
  2. An allowance of a certain amount of time or distance in starting, granted in a race (or other contest of skill) to the competitor possessing disadvantages; or an additional weight or other hindrance imposed upon the one possessing advantages, in order to equalize, as much as possible, the chances of success.
    The older boy won, even though his opponent had been granted a handicap of five meters.
    A handicap in chess often involves removal of the queen's rook.
  3. (sometimes considered offensive) The disadvantage itself, in particular physical or mental disadvantages of people.
  4. A race or similar contest in which there is an allowance of time, distance, weight, or other advantage, to equalize the chances of the competitors.
  5. (obsolete, card game) An old card game, similar to lanterloo.
    • 1660, Samuel Pepys
      Here some of us fell to handicap, a sport that I never knew before, which was very good.
Translations Translations Translations Verb

handicap (handicaps, present participle handicapping; past and past participle handicapped)

  1. (transitive) To encumber with a handicap in any contest.
  2. (transitive, figurative, by extension) To place at disadvantage.
    The candidate was handicapped by her lack of experience.
  3. To estimate betting odds.
    Grandpa Andy would buy the racing form the day ahead of time so he could handicap the race before he even arrived at the track.

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