[ am-bi-dek-struh s ]
/ ˌæm bɪˈdɛk strəs /


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.

Nearby words

  1. ambi-,
  2. ambiance,
  3. ambidentate,
  4. ambidexter,
  5. ambidexterity,
  6. ambien,
  7. ambience,
  8. ambient,
  9. ambient air standard,
  10. ambient music

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

British Dictionary definitions for ambidextrous


/ (ˌæmbɪˈdɛkstrəs) /


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

Medicine definitions for ambidextrous


[ ăm′bĭ-dĕkstrəs ]


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.