[ han-dee-kapt ]
/ ˈhæn diˌkæpt /


Sometimes Offensive. physically or mentally disabled.
of or designed for handicapped people: handicapped parking.
Sports. (of a competitor) marked by, being under, or having a handicap: a handicapped player.


(used with a plural verb) Sometimes Offensive. handicapped persons collectively (usually preceded by the): increased job opportunities for the handicapped.

Nearby words

  1. handheld computer,
  2. handhold,
  3. handholding,
  4. handicap,
  5. handicap register,
  6. handicapper,
  7. handicraft,
  8. handicraftsman,
  9. handies peak,
  10. handily

Origin of handicapped

First recorded in 1910–15; handicap + -ed3

Related formsmul·ti·hand·i·capped, adjectivenon·hand·i·capped, adjectiveun·hand·i·capped, adjective

Usage note

See cripple.


[ han-dee-kap ]
/ ˈhæn diˌkæp /


verb (used with object), hand·i·capped, hand·i·cap·ping.

Origin of handicap

1640–50; 1870–75 for def 8; orig. hand i' cap hand in cap, referring to a drawing before a horse race

Related formsnon·hand·i·cap, nouno·ver·hand·i·cap, verb (used with object), o·ver·hand·i·capped, o·ver·hand·i·cap·ping.pre·hand·i·cap, noun, verb (used with object), pre·hand·i·capped, pre·hand·i·cap·ping.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for handicapped

  • You are terribly 'handicapped' as the racing people call it.

    Perlycross|R. D. Blackmore

British Dictionary definitions for handicapped


/ (ˈhændɪˌkæpt) /


physically disabled
psychol denoting a person whose social behaviour or emotional reactions are in some way impaired
(of a competitor) assigned a handicap


Nowadays the use of the word handicapped to describe people with disabilities is generally considered inappropriate. It is preferable to refer to someone as having a disability and to talk about people with disabilities


/ (ˈhændɪˌkæp) /


verb -caps, -capping or -capped (tr)

Word Origin for handicap

C17: probably from hand in cap, a lottery game in which players drew forfeits from a cap or deposited money in it

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for handicapped
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for handicapped


[ hăndē-kăp′ ]


A physical, mental, or emotional condition that interferes with one's normal functioning.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.