The last few posts reminded me of two incidents in 1993-94 (which I also blogged about back in 2002) in which people complained about my using the term "handicapped," rather than "disabled." "Handicapped," they pointed out, comes from "cap in hand," referring to handicapped people begging with their caps in their hands. (A NEXIS search reveals several newspaper stories in which other people also make this claim.)

Actually, it comes from "hand in cap," a betting game (see, e.g., the New Shorter Oxford, but I've found the same derivation in other sources); from there it evolved into handicaps as burdens that one party labors under in a game (as in golf or horse racing); and from there it apparently evolved into burdens that people labor under as a result of cruel fate. People are getting offended -- and then trying to use that offense to change others' speech -- based on sheer myth.