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.

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

British Dictionary definitions for non-handicapped



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
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 non-handicapped



"disabled," 1915, past participle adjective from handicap (v.). Originally especially of children. Meaning "handicapped persons generally" is attested by 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper