Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1700-1800
Origin: handicap 'game in which people put their hand, holding money for a bet, into a hat' (1600-1700), from hand in cap

handicap

1 noun
     
Related topics: Sport, Illness and Disability
hand‧i‧cap1 [countable]
1MI old-fashioned if someone has a handicap, a part of their body or their mind has been permanently injured or damaged. Many people think that this word is offensive.
2 a situation that makes it difficult for someone to do what they want:
Not speaking the language is a real handicap.
3DS an advantage that is given to a weaker player in a game of golf:
He's improved a lot, and his handicap has come down from 18 to 12.
4 a race for horses in which the best horses carry extra weight so that all the horses have an equal chance of winning

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