• 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

Related Words for sinistral

near, port, south, larboard, sinister, portside, sinistral, awkward, clumsy, dubious, gauche, insincere, maladroit, ambilevous, southpaw

Examples from the Web for sinistral

Historical Examples of sinistral

  • 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 for sinistral

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.