See more synonyms for left-handed on Thesaurus.com
  1. having the left hand more dominant or effective than the right; preferably using the left hand: a left-handed pitcher.
  2. adapted to or performed by the left hand: a left-handed tool; a left-handed tennis serve.
  3. situated on the side of the left hand.
  4. Machinery.
    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.
  5. Building Trades. left-hand(def 3).
  6. ambiguous or doubtful and often unfavorable or derogatory by implication: a left-handed compliment.
  7. clumsy or awkward.
  8. 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.
  1. with the left hand: He writes left-handed.
  2. toward the left hand; in a counterclockwise direction: The strands of the rope are laid left-handed.

Origin of left-handed

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at left1, handed
Related formsleft-hand·ed·ly, adverbleft-hand·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for left-handed

Contemporary Examples of left-handed

Historical Examples of left-handed

  • It was the elder Dumas who said, "Truth is liable to be left-handed in history."

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • Indeed my innermost feeling, now, is that "The Return" is a left-handed production.

    Tales of Unrest

    Joseph Conrad

  • Only one, I remember, noticed that I was shot by a left-handed man.

  • “I never knew before that you were left-handed,” he returned evasively.

    Whispering Smith

    Frank H. Spearman

  • If our friend is left-handed, he'll be inconvenienced for a day or two.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

British Dictionary definitions for left-handed


  1. using the left hand with greater ease than the right
  2. performed with the left hand
  3. designed or adapted for use by the left hand
  4. worn on the left hand
  5. awkward or clumsy
  6. ironically ambiguousa left-handed compliment
  7. turning from right to left; anticlockwise
  8. law another term for morganatic
  1. with the left hand
Derived Formsleft-handedly, adverbleft-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

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

left-handed in Medicine


  1. 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.