[am-bi-dek-struh s]


able to use both hands equally well: an ambidextrous surgeon.
unusually skillful; facile: an ambidextrous painter, familiar with all media.
double-dealing; deceitful.
Slang. bisexual.

Origin of ambidextrous

First recorded in 1640–50; ambidext(e)r + -ous
Related formsam·bi·dex·trous·ly, adverbam·bi·dex·trous·ness, nounpseu·do·am·bi·dex·trous, adjectivepseu·do·am·bi·dex·trous·ly, adverb
Can be confusedambidextrous ambisextrousambidextrous ambisinistrous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ambidextrous

Contemporary Examples of ambidextrous

Historical Examples of ambidextrous

  • It is thus by attempting to be ambidextrous, I try to ward off attacks.

  • I should say he was ambidextrous, but he uses his left hand by preference.

    The Red Thumb Mark

    R. Austin Freeman

  • A genius, and ambidextrous, he could write sonnets with one hand and compose operas with the other.

  • Inquiry should be made as to whether the patient is right or left handed, or ambidextrous.

  • For by nature the right hand is the stronger: but nevertheless it may happen that there are ambidextrous men.


    George Grote

British Dictionary definitions for ambidextrous



equally expert with each hand
informal highly skilled or adept
underhanded; deceitful
Derived Formsambidexterity (ˌæmbɪdɛkˈstɛrɪtɪ) or ambidextrousness, nounambidextrously, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for ambidextrous

1640s, with -ous, from ambidexter (adj.) "double-dealing" (1610s), from French ambidextre or directly from Latin ambidexter, literally "right-handed on both sides," from ambi- "both" (see ambi-) + dexter "right-handed" (see dexterity). Its opposite, ambilevous "left-handed on both sides, clumsy" (1640s) is rare. Ambidexter as a noun, "one who takes bribes from both sides," is attested from 1530s and is the earliest form of the word in English; its sense of "one who uses both hands equally well" appears by 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ambidextrous in Medicine




Able to use both hands with equal facility.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.