verb (used with object), hand·i·capped, hand·i·cap·ping.
- to attempt to predict the winner of (a contest, especially a horse race), as by comparing past performances of the contestants.
- to assign odds for or against (any particular contestant) to win a contest or series of contests: He handicapped the Yankees at 2-to-1 to take the series from the Cardinals.
Origin of handicap
Examples from the Web for handicap
Unprepared, and a laughingstock because of his handicap, Yarvi is bullied on every front—even by his mother.
If the rest of us have had trouble catching up to Robespierre and crew, well, we are starting from a bit of a handicap.Why Deny the Obvious: Hollywood’s Backward Stance on Abortion|Teo Bugbee|June 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The handicap, after some needling back and forth, was fixed at eight strokes.
Otherwise, according to Mom, intelligence could handicap a woman.‘Tracing the Blue Light’: Read Chapter 1 of Eileen Cronin’s ‘Mermaid’|Eileen Cronin|April 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The last name is obviously a handicap, though perhaps not as much now as last cycle.
Thus the very decency of the native is a handicap to success and to fecundity.The Old World in the New|Edward Alsworth Ross
In a measure this was true, and Randall was under somewhat of a handicap in this respect.The Eight-Oared Victors|Lester Chadwick
To what extent is the success of stained glass windows due to a lessening of this handicap?Visual Illusions|Matthew Luckiesh
An unwillingness to toe the scratch under the handicap of having his neighbors know it is his second trial.A Virginia Scout|Hugh Pendexter
Muskwa followed him now, and he had some trouble in properly navigating himself under the handicap of his added weight.The Grizzly King|James Oliver Curwood
British Dictionary definitions for handicap
- a contest, esp a race, in which competitors are given advantages or disadvantages of weight, distance, time, etc, in an attempt to equalize their chances of winning
- the advantage or disadvantage prescribed
verb -caps, -capping or -capped (tr)
- to attempt to forecast the winner of (a contest, esp a horse race)
- to assign odds for or against (a contestant)
Word Origin for handicap
Word Origin and History for handicap (1 of 2)
1650s, from hand in cap, a game whereby two bettors would engage a neutral umpire to determine the odds in an unequal contest. The bettors would put their hands holding forfeit money into a hat or cap. The umpire would announce the odds and the bettors would withdraw their hands -- hands full meaning that they accepted the odds and the bet was on, hands empty meaning they did not accept the bet and were willing to forfeit the money. If one forfeited, then the money went to the other. If both agreed either on forfeiting or going ahead with the wager, then the umpire kept the money as payment. The custom, though not the name, is attested from 14c. ("Piers Plowman").
Reference to horse racing is 1754 (Handy-Cap Match), where the umpire decrees the superior horse should carry extra weight as a "handicap;" this led to sense of "encumbrance, disability" first recorded 1890. The main modern sense, "disability," is the last to develop, early 20c.