• definitions


[ han-dee-kap ]SEE DEFINITION OF handicapping

Synonyms for handicapping

  • cripple
  • hamper
  • hamstring
  • hinder
  • impede
  • restrict
  • burden
  • encumber
  • hog-tie
  • limit
  • sideline
  • hold back
  • put out of commission
  • take out

Antonyms for handicapping

  • advance
  • aid
  • allow
  • assist
  • encourage
  • facilitate
  • forward
  • help
  • permit
  • promote
  • support
  • benefit
  • further
  • give advantage
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


The handicapping has none of the careful science of Newmarket.

Handicapping is only a way to get people to read what I really want to tell them.

No one knew much about The Captain, and when it came to handicapping him there was a difficulty.

The horses are driven in two-wheeled "sulkies" of little weight, and the handicapping is exclusively by time-classes.

A wet field aided the home team by handicapping Cumners speedy backfield.

To the stag strong jungle and heavy brushwood were ever abhorrent, handicapping his light build and branching antlers.

Neither was hurt, but both were wet through, handicapping them for work on so cold a night.

This sort of handicapping would, I am sure, tend to equalize the number of entries for each class.

They will be handicapped heavily enough as they go on in life, without our handicapping them in their first race.

It has a shrewd trick of grafting sorrows on our joys, and of handicapping success with discomfiting conditions.


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.