\ \ [17] The word handicap originally denoted a sort of game of chance in which one person put up one of his or her personal possessions against an article belonging to someone else (for example one might match a gold watch against the other’s horse) and an umpire was appointed to adjudicate on the respective values of the articles. All three parties put their hands into a hat, together with a wager, and on hearing the umpire’s verdict the two opponents had to withdraw them in such a way as to indicate whether they wished to proceed with the game. If they agreed, either in favour of proceeding or against, the umpire took the money; but if they disagreed, the one who wanted to proceed took it. It was the concealing of the hands in the hat that gave the game its name hand in cap, hand i’ cap, source of modern English handicap.
\ \ In the 18th century the same term was applied to a sort of horse race between two horses, in which an umpire decided on a weight disadvantage to be imposed on a superior horse and again the owners of the horses signalled their assent to or dissent from his adjudication by the way in which they withdrew their hands from a hat. Such a race became known as a handicap race, and in the 19th century the term handicap first broadened out to any contest in which inequalities are artificially evened out, and was eventually transferred to the ‘disadvantage’ imposed on superior contestants – whence the main modern meaning, ‘disadvantage, disability’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • handicap — [ ɑ̃dikap; ɑ̃dikap ] n. m. • 1827; mot angl., probablt de hand in cap « main dans le chapeau », t. de jeu 1 ♦ Turf Course ouverte à des chevaux dont les chances de vaincre, naturellement inégales, sont égalisées par l obligation faite aux… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Handicap.fr — est un site d actualité et d information destiné à toutes les personnes concernées par le handicap. Ce média indépendant et gratuit, crée en 2002, offre de l information sur toutes les thématiques du handicap. Il informe aussi sur des services et …   Wikipédia en Français

  • handicap — HANDICÁP, handicapuri, s.n. 1. (Sport) Punctaj acordat unui concurent mai slab. ♦ Totalitatea punctelor cu care o echipă a fost pusă în inferioritate de echipa adversă. 2. fig. Greutate, piedică intervenită în munca cuiva. 3. Deficienţă… …   Dicționar Român

  • *handicap — ● handicap nom masculin (anglais handicap, de hand in cap, main dans le chapeau) Épreuve, course ou concours, dans lesquels les concurrents reçoivent ou rendent une avance de temps, de distance, de poids ou de points, de manière qu ils aient tous …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Handicap — auch Handikap (engl. hændikæp ‚Benachteiligung, Vorbelastung, Erschwerung‘) bezeichnet: eine soziale (und/oder körperliche) Benachteiligung aufgrund einer Behinderung im Sport einen Faktor zur Nivellierung unterschiedlicher Leistungsstärken,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • handicap — hand i*cap (h[a^]n d[i^]*k[a^]p), n. [From hand in cap; perh. in reference to an old mode of settling a bargain by taking pieces of money from a cap.] 1. An allowance of a certain amount of time or distance in starting, granted in a race to the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hándicap — 1. Voz tomada del inglés handicap (‘desventaja’), que se emplea, en hípica y en algunos otros deportes, con el sentido de ‘prueba en que se imponen desventajas a los mejores participantes, para igualar las posibilidades de todos’: «El resto del… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • handicap — / hændikæp/, it. / ɛndikap/ s. ingl. [in origine, gioco d azzardo con monete che si estraevano a sorte da un cappello, alteraz. di hand in cap mano nel cappello ], usato in ital. al masch. 1. a. (sport.) [gara nella quale i diversi valori dei… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • handicap — [n1] disadvantage affliction, baggage*, barrier, block, burden, detriment, disability, drawback, encumbrance, hangup*, hindrance, impairment, impediment, injury, limitation, load, millstone, obstacle, psychological baggage*, restriction,… …   New thesaurus

  • handicap — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 7}}[wym. handikap, akcent na pierwszej sylabie] {{/stl 7}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. handicappie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} czynnik mobilizujący, ułatwiający zrobienie czegoś;… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • handicap — ► NOUN 1) a condition that markedly restricts a person s ability to function physically, mentally, or socially. 2) a disadvantage imposed on a superior competitor in sports such as golf and horse racing in order to make the chances more equal. 3) …   English terms dictionary

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