AskDefine | Define handicap

Dictionary Definition



1 the condition of being unable to perform as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness; "reading disability"; "hearing impairment" [syn: disability, disablement, impairment]
2 advantage given to a competitor to equalize chances of winning
3 something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress [syn: hindrance, deterrent, impediment, balk, baulk, check]


1 injure permanently; "He was disabled in a car accident" [syn: disable, invalid, incapacitate]
2 attempt to forecast the winner (especially in a horse race) and assign odds for or against a contestant
3 put at a disadvantage; "The brace I have to wear is hindering my movements" [syn: hinder, hamper] [also: handicapping, handicapped]

User Contributed Dictionary



From hand in cap, in reference to holding the game stakes in a cap.


  1. An allowance of a certain amount of time or distance in starting, granted in a race to the competitor possessing inferior advantages; or an additional weight or other hindrance imposed upon the one possessing superior advantages, in order to equalize, as much as possible, the chances of success.
    The older boy won, even with a handicap of five meters.
    A handicap in chess often involves removal of the queen's rook.
  2. Hence the disadvantage itself, in particular physical or mental disadvantages of people.
  3. A race, for horses or men, or any contest of agility, strength, or skill, in which there is an allowance of time, distance, weight, or other advantage, to equalize the chances of the competitors.
  4. An old game at cards. - Pepys

Derived terms


An allowance granted in a race to the competitor
disadvantage, in particular physical or mental disadvantages of people


  1. To encumber with a handicap in any contest
  2. In the context of "transitive|by extension": to place at disadvantage
    The candidate was heavily handicapped.
  3. to estimate betting odds.




  • /hɑ̃.di.kap/
  • SAMPA: /hA~.di.kap/


fr-noun m
  1. handicap

Extensive Definition

Handicapped or handicap may refer to:
handicap in German: Handicap
handicap in French: Handicap
handicap in Ido: Handikapo
handicap in Italian: Handicap
handicap in Hebrew: נכות
handicap in Dutch: Handicap
handicap in Japanese: ハンデキャップ
handicap in Norwegian: Handicap
handicap in Slovak: Hendikep

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, abnormality, acute disease, affection, affliction, ailment, allergic disease, allergy, allowance, atrophy, bacterial disease, bale, bar, barrier, bear hard upon, birth defect, blight, block, bulge, burden, burdening, burthen, cardiovascular disease, cargo, charge, charging, chase, check, chronic disease, circulatory disease, complaint, complication, condition, congenital defect, constraint, cramp, cripple, cross, cumber, cumbrance, curb, damage, deadweight, deadwood, defect, deficiency disease, deformity, degenerative disease, detriment, difficulty, disability, disable, disadvantage, disease, disorder, distemper, drag, drawback, edge, embarrass, embarrassment, encumber, encumbrance, endemic, endemic disease, endocrine disease, enmesh, ensnarl, entangle, entoil, entrammel, entrap, entwine, epidemic disease, fetter, flat race, freight, functional disease, fungus disease, gastrointestinal disease, genetic disease, hamper, hamstring, handicap race, harm, harness race, head start, hereditary disease, hinder, hindrance, hobble, horse race, hurdle race, hurt, iatrogenic disease, illness, impairment, impede, impediment, impedimenta, imposition, inconvenience, incubus, incumbency, indisposition, infectious disease, infirmity, injury, involve, lade, lading, lame, liability, lime, limit, limitation, load, loading, loss, loss of ground, lumber, malady, malaise, millstone, mischief, morbidity, morbus, muscular disease, net, neurological disease, nutritional disease, obstacle, occupational disease, odds, onus, oppress, oppression, organic disease, overburden, overhand, overload, overtax, overtaxing, overweight, overweighting, pack, pandemic disease, pathological condition, pathology, penalize, penalty, plant disease, plate race, prejudice, press down, press hard upon, pressure, protozoan disease, psychosomatic disease, punish, purse race, quarter-horse race, respiratory disease, rest hard upon, restrain, restraint, restrict, restriction, rockiness, saddle, saddle with, saddling, secondary disease, seediness, shackle, sickishness, sickness, signs, snarl, stake, stake race, start, steeplechase, step backward, stumbling block, superincumbency, surcharge, sweep, sweepstake, sweepstakes, symptomatology, symptomology, symptoms, syndrome, tangle, tax, taxing, the pip, toil, trammel, trotting race, trouble, urogenital disease, vantage, virus disease, wasting disease, weigh down, weigh heavy on, weigh on, weigh upon, weight, white elephant, worm disease
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