1. Sports & Games
a. A race or contest in which contestants are given advantages or compensations to equalize the chances of winning.
b. Such an advantage or penalty.
2. Usage Problem A physical or mental disability. See Usage Note at handicapped.
3. A disadvantage or inconvenience. See Synonyms at disadvantage.
tr.v. hand·i·capped, hand·i·cap·ping, hand·i·caps
1. Sports & Games To assign handicaps or a handicap to (a contestant).
2. To cause to be at a disadvantage; impede.
[From obsolete hand in cap, a game in which forfeits were held in a cap.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.