Posted by William Karl Thomas on September 03, 2001
In Reply to: Handicap posted by Peter Maple on August 09, 2001
: I'm trying to find the Original meaning of the phrase, "cap
in hand" (or possibly hand in cap.
: People in the disability movement think the origin of handicap is " cap in hand" ie begging and therefore derrogatory. Others say its "cap in hand" as in horse racing where originally jockeys had to hold their cap as a early "handicap". The Oxford Dictionary says, possibly "hand in cap" was an early game - pulling tokens or cards out of the hat - in a "sporting lottery"
My research for articles about "people with disabilities" attributes the term "handicap" to the great number of amputee returning soldiers from World War I who begged on street corners with "cap in hand," which became "handicap" in American slang.