[am-bi-dek-struh s]
See more synonyms for ambidextrous on
  1. able to use both hands equally well: an ambidextrous surgeon.
  2. unusually skillful; facile: an ambidextrous painter, familiar with all media.
  3. double-dealing; deceitful.
  4. 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


  1. equally expert with each hand
  2. informal highly skilled or adept
  3. 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


  1. 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.