• synonyms


  1. a tendency to use one hand more than the other.
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Origin of handedness

First recorded in 1920–25; handed + -ness
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for handedness


  1. the tendency to use one hand more skilfully or in preference to the other
  2. the property of some chemical substances of rotating the plane of polarized light in one direction rather than anotherSee also dextrorotation, laevorotation
  3. the relation between the vectors of spin and momentum of neutrinos and certain other elementary particlesSee also helicity
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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

handedness in Medicine


  1. A preference for using one hand as opposed to the other.
  2. The chirality of a molecule.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

handedness in Science


  1. A preference for using one hand rather than the other to perform most manual tasks and activities. Most people are right-handed. Historically, it has been theorized that handedness is associated with a dominance of the opposite cerebral hemisphere of the brain, but this has not been conclusively proven. Although the scientific basis for handedness is unknown, the fact that left-handed parents more frequently have left-handed offspring suggests at least a partial genetic component. Some experts believe that children are trained to favor one hand over the other (usually the right hand.). Handedness is usually established in the first few years of life.
  2. See chirality.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.