Origin of sinister
Examples from the Web for sinister
Some have innocuous-seeming URLs like cardpool.com or giftcardgranny.com, which cloak the sinister operations.The Insane $11 Billion Scam at Retailers’ Return Desks|M.L. Nestel|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
“i wanted to talk to him about sinister and jobs,” wrote Pascal.Exclusive: Sony Emails Slam Leonardo DiCaprio, Willow and Jaden Smith, Gush Over Ryan Gosling|William Boot|December 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The Kremlin likes to portray these as sinister Western conspiracies.
A raft of thrillers, sci-fi movies, and sinister dramas followed.
As sinister and well-resourced as it is, it may be the weakest link in the chain.
It is, if I may be allowed to say so, the sinister suggestion in your speech, inspector—superintendent I mean.The Green Rust|Edgar Wallace
Huge and sinister she stood there under the little oil lamp; alone with him in the empty hall.Three John Silence Stories|Algernon Blackwood
It makes no difference as to the precise way in which this sinister efficiency is shown.African and European Addresses|Theodore Roosevelt
His eyes sparkled with anger, and the sinister light that shot from them had before now made the Emperor quail.The Strong Arm|Robert Barr
Then came that silence, followed in a few minutes by the deep and sinister baying note of the great hound.The Border Watch|Joseph A. Altsheler
British Dictionary definitions for sinister
Word Origin for sinister
Word Origin and History for sinister
early 15c., "prompted by malice or ill-will, intending to mislead," from Old French senestre, sinistre "contrary, false; unfavorable; to the left" (14c.), from Latin sinister "left, on the left side" (opposite of dexter), of uncertain origin. Perhaps meaning properly "the slower or weaker hand" [Tucker], but Klein and Buck suggest it's a euphemism (see left (adj.)) connected with the root of Sanskrit saniyan "more useful, more advantageous." With contrastive or comparative suffix -ter, as in dexter (see dexterity).
The Latin word was used in augury in the sense of "unlucky, unfavorable" (omens, especially bird flights, seen on the left hand were regarded as portending misfortune), and thus sinister acquired a sense of "harmful, unfavorable, adverse." This was from Greek influence, reflecting the early Greek practice of facing north when observing omens. In genuine Roman auspices, the augurs faced south and left was favorable. Thus sinister also retained a secondary sense in Latin of "favorable, auspicious, fortunate, lucky."
Meaning "evil" is from late 15c. Used in heraldry from 1560s to indicate "left, to the left." Bend (not "bar") sinister in heraldry indicates illegitimacy and preserves the literal sense of "on or from the left side" (though in heraldry this is from the view of the bearer of the shield, not the observer of it).