• synonyms


[sin-uh-struh l]
See more synonyms for sinistral on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or on the left side; left (opposed to dextral).
  2. left-handed.
  3. (of certain gastropod shells) coiling counterclockwise, as seen from the apex.
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Origin of sinistral

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English word from Medieval Latin word sinistrālis. See sinister, -al1
Related formssin·is·tral·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sinistral

Historical Examples

  • Sinistral: extending to or at the left from the median line.

    Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology

    John. B. Smith

  • If we were very fortunate, we might find a sinistral, or “left-handed” specimen.

    Our British Snails

    John William Horsley

  • Sinistral: Having the aperture of the shell at the left; opposite of dextral.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • This is carried outward in a sinistral spiral to the noded shoulder.

  • Gasteropod shells may be sinistral or dextral, according as the whorls turn to the left or right.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

British Dictionary definitions for sinistral


  1. of, relating to, or located on the left side, esp the left side of the body
  2. a technical term for left-handed
  3. (of the shells of certain gastropod molluscs) coiling in a clockwise direction from the apex
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Compare dextral
Derived Formssinistrally, adverb

Word Origin

C15 (in the obsolete sense: adverse, evil); C19 (in current senses): from Medieval Latin sinistrālis. See sinister
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 sinistral


late 15c., "unlucky," from Old French senestral, sinistral or Medieval Latin *sinistralis, from sinister (see sinister). Meaning "on the left side" is from 1803. Related: Sinistrally.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sinistral in Medicine


(sĭnĭ-strəl, sĭ-nĭstrəl)
  1. Of, facing, or located on the left side; left.
  2. Left-handed.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.