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[left-han-did] /ˈlɛftˈhæn dɪd/
having the left hand more dominant or effective than the right; preferably using the left hand:
a left-handed pitcher.
adapted to or performed by the left hand:
a left-handed tool; a left-handed tennis serve.
situated on the side of the left hand.
  1. rotating counterclockwise.
  2. noting a helical or spiral member, as a gear tooth or screw thread, that twists counterclockwise as it recedes from an observer.
Building Trades. left-hand (def 3).
ambiguous or doubtful and often unfavorable or derogatory by implication:
a left-handed compliment.
clumsy or awkward.
of, relating to, or issuing from a morganatic marriage: so called from the custom, in morganatic marriage ceremonies, of having the bridegroom give his left hand to the bride.
with the left hand:
He writes left-handed.
toward the left hand; in a counterclockwise direction:
The strands of the rope are laid left-handed.
Origin of left-handed
1350-1400; Middle English; see left1, handed
Related forms
left-handedly, adverb
left-handedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for left-handed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thus, as it were, he laid his left hand on the rich and his right on the poor; and he was not left-handed.

    Dr. Sevier George W. Cable
  • This left-handed individual with the eye-glass must be the tutor.

    Roger Ingleton, Minor Talbot Baines Reed
  • But clearly the hand had been cut off by a left-handed man, with a large, sharply pointed knife.

    Chronicles of Martin Hewitt Arthur Morrison
  • “I never knew before that you were left-handed,” he returned evasively.

    Whispering Smith Frank H. Spearman
  • If a left-handed person came near the kettle she was mightily vexed—being sure her soap would go wrong.

    Dishes & Beverages of the Old South Martha McCulloch Williams
  • If our friend is left-handed, he'll be inconvenienced for a day or two.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • Hold the bulblet firmly between the thumb and fingers of the left hand—unless you are left-handed—with the top upward.

    The Gladiolus Matthew Crawford
  • This again was only a left-handed transcript from the French.

    John Lyly John Dover Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for left-handed


using the left hand with greater ease than the right
performed with the left hand
designed or adapted for use by the left hand
worn on the left hand
awkward or clumsy
ironically ambiguous: a left-handed compliment
turning from right to left; anticlockwise
(law) another term for morganatic
with the left hand
Derived Forms
left-handedly, adverb
left-handedness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for left-handed

late 14c., of persons; 1650s of tools, etc., from left (adj.) + handed. In 15c. it also could mean "maimed." Sense of "underhanded" is from early 17c., as in left-handed compliment (1787, also attested 1855 in pugilism slang for "a punch with the left fist"), as is that of "illicit" (e.g. left-handed marriage). Related: Left-handedly; left-handedness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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left-handed in Medicine

left-handed adj.
Using the left hand more skillfully or easily than the right.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for left-handed



  1. Undesirable; unlucky (1940s+ Merchant marine)
  2. Irregular; illicit; dubious: left-handed honeymoons with someone else's husband (1612+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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left-handed in the Bible

(Judg. 3:15; 20:16), one unable to use the right hand skilfully, and who therefore uses the left; and also one who uses the left as well as the right, ambidexter. Such a condition of the hands is due to physical causes. This quality was common apparently in the tribe of Benjamin.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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