Definition of “handicap” - English Dictionary

“handicap” in British English

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uk /ˈhæn.dɪ.kæp/ us /ˈhæn.dɪ.kæp/

handicap noun (CONDITION)

[ C or U ] old-fashioned a condition in which part of your body or mind has been permanently damaged or does not work normally. This word is now considered offensive by many people, who prefer the word disability:

a physical handicap

handicap noun (COMPETITION)

[ C ] a disadvantage given to a person taking part in a game or competition in order to reduce their chances of winning, or a sports event in which such disadvantages are given:

Handicaps give people with different abilities an equal chance of winning.
My current golf handicap is nine.

handicapverb [ T ]

uk /ˈhæn.dɪ.kæp/ us /ˈhæn.dɪ.kæp/ -pp-

(Definition of “handicap” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“handicap” in American English

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handicapnoun [ C ]

us /ˈhæn·diˌkæp/

handicap noun [ C ] (PHYSICAL CONDITION)

a physical or mental condition that makes ordinary activities more difficult than they are for other people:

His loss of hearing was a severe handicap.

handicap noun [ C ] (DIFFICULTY)

something that causes unusual difficulties:

Their lack of knowledge of computer programming was not much of a handicap for them.

handicap noun [ C ] (DISADVANTAGE)

(in a sports competition) a disadvantage given to a strong competitor in order to give weaker competitors a better chance of winning:

a golf handicap

handicapverb [ T ]

/ˈhæn·diˌkæp/ -pp-

to make something unusually difficult:

Rescue efforts have been handicapped by bad weather.

(Definition of “handicap” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)