- a player who throws with the left hand, especially a pitcher.
- Boxing. a boxer who leads with the right hand and stands with the right foot forward, using the left hand for the most powerful blows.
Words nearby southpaw
BEHIND THE WORD
What does southpaw mean?
A southpaw is a left-handed person, especially a boxer or baseball pitcher. It is also an adjective meaning “left-handed.”
What are other words are related to southpaw:
Where does southpaw come from?
The term southpaw has referred to a person’s left hand since the 1800s. The paw in southpaw is slang for “hand,” but what does south refer to?
It’s popularly said that southpaw is related to baseball diamonds facing west in the 1800s so that batters didn’t have to look into the sun (before lighting made night games possible). That meant left-handed pitchers would have been positioned south in their windup.
It’s a clever story, but evidence suggests that southpaw began in boxing. The south may have characterized the left hand as “lesser” or “lower” than the right hand.
In boxing, left-handed fighters learn what’s called the southpaw stance, involving leading with the right hand and foot but delivering the most powerful punches with the left fist. As most people are right-handed, the southpaw stance can be very advantageous (as pitching southpaw is in baseball, too), and so right-handed pugilists (who typically fight in what’s called the orthodox stance) may learn the stance, too. Famous southpaws in boxing include Ruslan Chagaev, Héctor Camacho, and Manny Pacquiao.
How is southpaw used in real life?
If you encounter southpaw, it’s likely in a sports context, typically boxing or baseball. Everyone from fans to players to broadcasters may use the term.
I feel I do my best against “Southpaws”. Most of my finishes are against them w/ style points. I feel if I were to fight @TheNotoriousMMA in a cage or boxing match my “Athleticism” & “Conditioning” would be too much for the Irishman & he would easily break in a Few Rounds 🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) November 21, 2018
Southpaw is occasionally used in general contexts as a colloquial term for “left-handed (person).”
— Charles Fuerstenau (@eskimochuck) November 24, 2018
In the 1976 movie Rocky, the title character is a southpaw. In typical Rocky style, he creates his own origin story for this term, stating there was once a left-handed fighter in Philadelphia whose “arm was facing towards New Jersey,” so they called him a southpaw.
The 2015 movie Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is about a left-handed fighter from New York who struggles after his wife dies.
Southpaw is also the name of the Chicago White Sox’s mascot.
— Southpaw (@Southpaw) February 3, 2020
Modeled after southpaw, the term northpaw can refer to a right-handed person.
More examples of southpaw:
“Bellew admits he has in the past faced a “massive problem” in dealing with fighters—like Usyk—who sport a southpaw stance. He says he has overcome the issue since working with trainer Coldwell but the clash of orthodox versus southpaw can historically present problems.”
—Luke Reddy, BBC, November 2018
How to use southpaw in a sentence
We turn now to estimating the size of the “southpaw advantage,” which we define as the overall advantage a pitcher gains solely from being left-handed, as compared to a right-handed pitcher with equal pitch quality.
We believe the source of southpaws’ “extra” success against hitters — beyond what the quality of their pitches can explain — is hitters’ relative lack of familiarity with the look of pitches coming from the left side.
As we stated earlier, southpaws have pitched 28 percent of major league innings in recent years, despite representing just 10 percent of the male population.
It seems fair to say that the southpaw advantage has shaped the game we know in fundamental ways.
You would be able to count all the lefty pitchers in the Hall of Fame on your fingers, and every few years we might debate whether a southpaw will ever win the Cy Young Award again.
The four-part story of Henry Wiggen begins with The Southpaw, which was published a year after The Natural.The 13 Best Baseball Books: From ‘The Art of Fielding’ to ‘Moneyball’|Jimmy So|April 5, 2012|DAILY BEAST
He was one of the pitchers who when he was good was very good indeed, and on that day his southpaw slants were simply unhittable.
Then a veritable torrent of hits broke from the Bostons bats and drove the southpaw from the mound.
At the age when its purity was whitest, a great moon hung midway between Southpaw peak and Moon mountain.
The enemy over in Southpaw had already advanced the prophecy that they would take the meeting-house.
Over in Southpaw the enemy gazed down from the heights upon this spectacle in amazement.