handicap vs disability : Common Errors in English

About handicap vs disability

In normal usage, a handicap is a drawback you can easily remedy, but a disability is much worse: you’re just unable to do something. But many people with disabilities and those who work with them strongly prefer “disability” to “handicap,” which they consider an insulting term. Their argument is that a disability can be compensated for by—for instance— a wheelchair, so that the disabled person is not handicapped. Only the person truly unable by any means to accomplish tasks because of a disability is handicapped. The fact that this goes directly counter to ordinary English usage may help to explain why the general public has been slow to adopt it; but if you want to avoid offending anyone, you’re safer using “disability” than “handicap.”Many of the people involved also resent being called “disabled people”; they prefer “people with disabilities.”

handicap Meaning(s)

  • (n) the condition of being unable to perform as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness
  • (n) advantage given to a competitor to equalize chances of winning
  • (n) something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress
  • (v) injure permanently
  • (v) attempt to forecast the winner (especially in a horse race) and assign odds for or against a contestant
  • (v) put at a disadvantage

disability Meaning(s)

  • (n) the condition of being unable to perform as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness

handicap in News

  1. Nashwauk council denies handicap parking request

    NASHWAUK — The Nashwauk City Council Tuesday denied a resident’s request for a handicap parking spot.
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Hibbing Daily Tribune

  2. Golden Ticket to run in Foster Handicap

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Billings-owned Golden Ticket will be starting from the rail Saturday night in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Billings Gazette

  3. Churchill Downs: Fort Larned, Successful Dan to meet in Stephen Foster Handicap

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Six older horses are entered in the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, the Grade 1 race that has become the signature leadoff event for the post-Triple Crown half of the racing season in North America.
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Daily Racing Form

disability in News

  1. Social Security: How to apply for disability, prescription drug benefits

    Q. How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press

  2. Wrongful disability pension payments found

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Rhode Island's treasurer says an audit of the state's disability pension system found that six public retirees received more than half a million dollars in wrongful disability
    on June 13, 2013 Source: ABC 6 Providence

  3. Garnish Disability to pay Student Loan?

    If you are getting disability, know the implications of failing to pay your student loans.
    on June 10, 2013 Source: FOX Business

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