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Left-handed language

A lot of language around the world and throughout history has been very detrimental to left-handers, whether it is the names we are called or the words that are used to mean “left-handed”.

Left-handed languageNames for left-handersCack-handed and similarPlaying up the right

Sayings where the word “left” does not fit

Sayings where the word “right” does not fit

Positive references to left-handed

left handed words

Left-handed language

Left Handers do not do any better in foreign languages, as we show below. This is mainly based on personal communications from people who live in the countries concerned and we cannot guarantee it is correct! If you have any more examples or any comments or corrections, please add them using the comments link at the bottom and we will update the main table as appropriate

Left handed terms by country and what they mean

Country / Language Words for “Left-Handed” Meanings
Arabic ShammaliA’asar Mohammad says: In arabic we call left handed people as (Shammali) or (A’asar) meaning Lefty for both words. The 2nd arabic word might mean Difficult.Marwan said:It is amazing to get to discover items and products that would have made our life easier. In the Arab countries left handers are called ” feshlawe ” or ” A’asar ” the first word means loser while the second means the one who faces hard times, both words shows who our cultures considers left handers as losers or people with less abilities, while on the contrary we have more skills but we just need suitable tools.
Australia Mollie Dooker Something to do with having fists like a girl
Belarus Liewsha Meaning:Sneaky or Mistrustful
Botswana Ntsogotlho and Molema In the Setswana language, if someone calls you NTSOGOTLHO they mean someone who uses a hand for the loo but if they say MOLEMA it simply means your left-hand.Generally, in Botswana people who are left-handed are considered very intelligent but in some minor tribes they consider us to be handicapped. Before, many would try and force their children to use their right-hand but that has since gone.
Bulgarian In Bulgarian we have three words describing a left-handed person – Левичар (Levichar), Левогер (Levoger) and Левак (Levak). The last one is considered very offensive. We also have a term called лефтерен (lefteren), which describes something that’s not working properly or isn’t strong enough. As you can see, the word is derived from English left.
Chinese In Chinese, the word left is sometimes associated with the “dark side”. There is a phrase that associated the evil with the word left “Zuo”. IF I am not wrong, in Cantonese, the word left also means hindering. But this will require the native Cantonese speaking people to verify.Eva tells us:   I am a native Cantonese. I just want to verify that you’re right about the Cantonese saying zuo” it means hindering, in the way of something which is seen as bad.
Danish Venstre-hÃ¥ndetKejthÃ¥ndetAvethÃ¥ndet neutral, “using the left hand”, to be “kejtet” means to be clumsy, awkward (dialect): “avet” means clumsy, wrong
Dutch Linkshandig Lefthanded Another meaning of the dutch word “Links” but only in the dialect “Brabants” (from Noord-Brabant, a province of the Netherlands) is “inside-out”, especially used for clothing. Like in: “Je hebt je shirt links aan” (you are wearing your T-shirt  inside-out)
Finnish Vasenkätinen Vasuri Left-handed “Lefty”
French Gauche Awkward, clumsy
German Links, Linkisch Awkward
Greek Skaios Ill-omened, awkward Comment received – there’s no word like that in greek… the word is aristeros, coming from aristos, meaning someone who succeeds.
Update from Katerina in Greece:
I don’t know the word you display for left handed in greek althought I’m a native greek. Aristeros is more used, though the most frequent word is aristeroxeiras which literally means left handed. A rude way to call a left handed is stravos” which means crooked or twisted (I was often called like that by my grandmother when I was trying to help her in the kitchen, although she didn’t mean to be rude)
Hindi Ulta Haanth The left hand in Hindi is called “Ulta Haanth”, which literally translates to the opposite, wrong, bad hand. So much has this permeated that most lefties don’t realise what they’re saying, and wind up using the phrase themselves
Hungarian Hungarian language is quite straightforward: Right – “Jobb” (also a synonym for better) comes from the word “Jo” which means good Left – “Bal” (also a synonym for bad, or used grammatically negative meaning to positive word, for example: Balszerencse – “Left” Luck = disaster Baleset – “Left” event = accident etc….you get the point
Indonesia Kidal means lefty.   It is interesting because in my culture, kidal or lefty also means impolite.Halida from Indonesia tells us “I’d like to comment of the Indonesian meaning for the left-handed term. I’m an Indonesian and it’s true that the word for left-handed is “kidal”. But as far as I know (and I’ve asked my friends from various ethnic groups) it doesn’t have any negative meaning. The official Indonesian dictionary defines “kidal” as “being more skillful with the left side of the body (left hand) rather than the right side”. I am of Minang ethnic group and since a lot of the words in Indonesian language come from Minang language I’m guessing “kidal” in Indonesia comes from the Minang language, “kida” which simply means “left”, no negative meaning whatsoever. The Minang language itself, depending on the region, uses the word “kida” or “kedoh” for left-handed.
Iran Chapool Arezou from Iran tells us: In my country there is a word “Chapool” ,which means lefty. However, I would like to say that in Iran there is a goood concept about the left handed people and every one believes that left handers are more intelligent than others. This is the opinion which I have heard hundreds of times when people understand that I am left handed. I am 32 years old and I have never heard bad words but only compliments from the people around. Although when I was a child my mother told me to eat my meal with my right hand and it is not good in formal parties to eat with left hand. All I tried to say is that it is not all over the world there are mocking words aligned to left handers. I mean some countries have a positive assumption to the left handed people
Irish CiotógCitogCithogCloot In the Gaelic language, pronounced ‘kitt-ogue’ (as in ‘rogue’). Also means “the strange one”. The term is also used by Irish people speaking in English – it would be frequently used in sports commentary and there is a TV production company called Ciotog Films. Left or Stupid is the Irish name for left handers, especially completely left handed people. It’s slightly negative, meaning awkward…I cant work with you. some of my Irish relatives call me caggy mufty [not sure about the spelling!]. ‘Citeog’ is the Irish expression for a leftie. Nobody knows where it first started but its generally an endearing term and not at all offensive ciotógach = Gaelic (Irish) for left-handed
Italian Mancini Crooked, maimed Italian for left side is “sinistra”; a like term for sinister.
Update from Esra:
Left handed in Italian is actually either   MANCINO (for male )   and MANCINA ( for female).. Mancini is plural form of Mancino which is male.So you should use both il MANCINO (male)   la MANCINA (female).
Japanese I’ve been learning Japanese; the Japanese for left-handed is “hidari kiki” which as far as I can gather has no negative connotations. Hidari-kiki has no negative connotations, and ‘southpaw’, from the American Baseball term is also often used. An obsolete term, ‘gitcho’ is no longer used, on the assumption that it was derogatory since there was no equivalent term for right-handed. However, the possible origin of the term itself shows no particular bias – the word ‘gitcho’ is the name of the stick used in a Heian era stick and ball game, and ‘hidari-gitcho’ is simply the word used for hitting the ball with the stick in the left hand.
Kenya Njenga in Kantas tell us “Did you know Maasai name for a left hander means a monkey?”
Korean Oen right – Oreun(in Korean). It means right, correct (it is like English ‘right’). Also, Oreunson(right hand) is often replaced ‘Bareunson’, its mean is perpectly same ‘right’. It is very interesting. left – oen(it sounds like ‘when’) It means ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ in old Korean. It is used in Korean proberb sometimes
Latin Sinister Dexter On the left-hand side On the right hand side (dextrous)
Malaysia In Malaysia, our local language Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) term left-handedness as Kidal. (“ki” as in KEY and “dal” as in “DAHL” like Roald Dahl)
Mexico Chueco Literally, “chueco” means twisted or non-straight.
Northern Ireland I’m from a small town in Northern Ireland where a lot of our dialect is Ulster-Scotch. Every time I went to write, or do anything with my left hand I was called “KITTER FISTED” or “AWKWARD ANNIE”! In fact, I’m only 29 but went to seconday school with a lefty who had the ‘devil beat out of him’and was forced to use his right hand. Oh the ignorance of it all….!!
Norwegian Kjevhendt Crooked-handed (also advised to us as keivhent, left-hander) In Norwegian it’s more common (and correct)to say “venstrehendt” instead of keivhendt (kjevhendt) “Venstrehendt” simply means left handed as opposed to “høyrehendt” which means “righthanded”.
Philippines Kaliwete Unfortunately, it also has another negative meaning like the other languages. When someone is a “kaliwete,” or mentioned to be “nangangaliwete” (present tense verb form), it can mean that a person is a two-timer or is being unfaithful.
Poland In polish language lefthanded mean leworÄ™czny( correct) also people use words as: maÅ„kut, Å›maja, lewus. The last phrases are offensive for lefthanders. Leworeczcy or mankut in Polish, meaning:illegalUpdate from Paul: You’re wrong – there’s no such word like leworeczcy” or mankut” ( maÅ„kut” is correct). canIf you want to say that something is illegal, you use word lewy” which means left” in english
Portuguese canhoto Portuguese “canhoto” meaning; lacking ability or physical co-ordination; clumsy; badly done or made “Canhoto” is a popular name for the Devil here in Portugal and there are many superstitions and even popular festivities in which Canhoto appears as the Devil himself, in rituals such as “queimar o Canhoto” (“burning the Canhoto”), in some regions, a kind of Halloween. Also, when speaking of a potentially terrible event or a bad omen it is a Portuguese traditional gesture to knock three times on wood with the right hand and say “Diabo sejas cego, surdo e mudo! Lagarto, lagarto, lagarto sejas canhoto!” which translates roughly into “Devil be blind, deaf and mute! Lizard, lizard, lizard be left-handed!”. This is probably so because by cursing the Devil to be left-handed it will prevent him from doing harm so efficiently, as is a popular misconception to believe left-handed to be awkward and clumsy. There is also another popular saying – “Figas Canhoto!” (usually accompanied by the gesture of hooking the right forefinger over the (right) thumb which is traditionally used to ward off evil, jinxes, the Devil), “Figas” being the plural name of said gesture and Canhoto the Devil himself. In Portugal we also have the word “Esquerdino” which indicates “someone who habitually uses the left hand”, which is better accepted because “canhoto” is a derogatory definition, but is best used on a daily basis.
Romanian Stângaci which means “left-hander” as well as “unskillful”
Russian in russian LEVSHA.it is meaning not trustworthy.in Ortodoxy church left side is a women`s side In Russia classmates  often say about lefthanders: “Левша-кривая душа”.It means, lefthander has a wry soul 😉 Liefshá,liewshá and lifshá are lefties in Russian and meaning:not trustworthy and sneaky.The variant:na lievo,meaning:sneaky
Scotland I’m Scottish and up here left handed people are called corrie-fisted. It comes from the Gaelic cearr meaning left, or wrong hand. There are also some local dialect versions, such as caurrie-haundit and corrie dukit.
Serbian In Serbian we both write and read it the same-LEVORUK if it’s a male or LEVORUKA if it’s female.And that literaly means LEFT HAND!
Spanish Zurdo Siniestro Chueco Reverse – No Ser Zurdo = Clever. Not usually used in an insulting way. In Argentina, the “zurdos” are seen as quite intelligent people In spanish right handers are called “diestro” (which means= able), and siniestro means creapy, freak TwistedAnother word for lefthanded in spanish is ZOCATO. This means the fruit before is ripe, when is yellow and rough
Swahili left is kushoto, or weak
Swedish vänsterhänt left-handed. According to my etymological dictionary the word “vänster” (“left”) originally meant “the favourable [side]”, and is related to the word “vän” (“friend”). So, maybe you should add a list of languages where the word “left” actually is a positive one! :-)Linnea says: Here in Sweden I have heard another word for lefty that is less nice than the common word vänsterhänt” and that is felhänt” which means wrong-handed.
Turkish Solak From Esra: Turkish Solak is correct but doesn’t have any other meaning. SOL’s mean is Left in Turkish. Together with AK it means left side user. There is no any other meaning as clumsy or something, just left -side user.
Aysun tells us: “There is not even a single   word in Turkish that insult left handed people”
Ukrainian Lifshá Meaning:Sneaky or Mistrustful
Venezuela MochoLa Mocha Adolfo tells us: Here in Venezuela we often use the term mocho” to refer to a lefty, or la mocha”, to refer to the left hand. Mocho” would roughly translate as maimed”, or awkward, clumsy” or stuff like that, and la mocha” would be something like the maimed (hand)”.
Wales When I was young in Wales I was often referred to as being “llaw bwt” i.e. stump handed. Not very flattering, but as I didn’t speak Welsh at the time it didn’t really mean anything to me! Also the Welsh for LEFT is CHWITH, and if something is O’I CHWITH it is wrong, or out of place

If you have any more examples or any comments or corrections, please Click here to email Keith to let us know.

Names for left-handers

Researchers preparing a survey of English dialects found 88 different words for ‘left-handed’ (mostly uncomplimentary) in local use in the 1950’s including the following:

Buck-fisted Gar-pawed Left-kelly
Cack-handed Gibble-fisted Left-plug
Caggy Golly-handed Scoochy
Clicky Kay-neived Scrammy-handed
Corrie-fisted Keck-fisted Skiffle-handed
Cow-pawed Keggy-handed South-paw
Cuddy-wifter Kerry Spuddy-handed
Dolly-pawed Kittaghy Squiffy

More recently, we have also been told about:

  • Gollie Handed (Hull area in N.E. England)
  • Because their rudders were attached to the right side, ancient sailing vessels were docked to the left. This side became the ‘port side’. Today left-handers (mostly in the USA) are sometimes called ‘Port Siders’.
  • The term ‘Southpaw’ is derived from baseball. Parks were often built with the homeplate in the western corner of the field. When a left-handed pitcher was facing the batter, his throwing arm would be the closest to the south, thus the term ‘Southpaw’ was coined. Another name in America for a left hander playing baseball was to call a left handed batter was a hooker….
  • When I was growing up in Warwickshire, UK, left handers were always referred to as Keggy or Kack Handed (or sometimes Peg Handed). I still tend to refer to someone left handed  as Keggy!
  • After reading about other names for left handed, I would like to add SCRAMMY, used in Bristol, UK
  • We actually call it Corrie Fisted, but this derives from the name ‘Kerr’ (my surname!).   The Kerr family inthe Borders region were mostly left handed – in fact, the built their houses and castle’s with a left handed bias (spiral staircases the ‘wrong’ way round so that they could fight with their swords and defend on the stairs).
  • Another name for being left handed is….Taggy handed which is used in Lincolnshire, UK
  • In Ancient Hebrew, left-handers were called “Eetair yad y’mini”, i.e.”constricted right-hand”.   Ouch!
  • Born and raised in central Birmingham,  I  was always called  CAGGY-HANDED as a child – yet another nickname?
  • In Fife, Scotland we use corrie fistit (fisted)
  • My wife is from the north -east and she calls me cuddy handed and here in Yorkshire I’m cack – handed
  • In some parts of the UK (I always thought it was a Scottish term, but a bit of Googling reveals it may be Irish in origin) Catholics are referred to as Left Footers”, according to what I found out, it seems the Catholics used spades (possibly for turf or peat cutting, possibly just generally), with a lug for putting your left foot on whilst digging, whilst the Protestants used spades with the lug on the right.
  • In America, a left-handed snowboarder is called “Goofy,” and a lefty board is called a “Goofy Board.”   This is because the board is designed to slant in the opposite direction of righty boards.
  • The same goes for surfing, in the USA a left handed )footed) surfer is called goofy foot. The right foot is forward and the left is used for steering.
  • I grew up in Leicestershire   and was called ‘cack-handed’ and ‘corky dobber’   I’ve never heard the latter since, but my mother used it, as an affectionate term.
  • Widdershins is another, meaning anything against the ‘norm’ e.g. anti-clockwise or, indeed left-handed

If you have any more examples or any comments or corrections, please use the comments link at the bottom to add them.

Cack-handed and similar

This is a name that is still in common usage in the UK and seems to have variants all round the world. It is actually quite offensive and one explanation I have found is:

The direct association is with cack, another fine Old English term, for excrement or dung. Cachus was Old English for a privy, and both words come from Latin cacare, to defecate. It almost certainly comes from the very ancient tradition, which has developed among peoples who were mainly right-handed, that one reserved the left hand for cleaning oneself after defecating and used the right hand for all other purposes. At various times this has been known in most cultures. Some consider it rude even to be given something using the left hand. So to be left-handed was to use the cack hand or be cack-handed.

Not very nice! We have also been advised of other similar usages…

  • In Thailand we do not have any nick name for the L/H but we have one word to amuse the L/H people that “E SAI PAI KEE ” it’s mean the people who use the hand which touch the [excrement]

Playing up the right

A more subtle way of downplaying left-handedness is by praising the right. Thus we have:

  • Dextrous, dexterity  – skillful in performing tasks, especially with the hands – from the Latin “dexter”: right.
  • Ambidextrous – having two right hands.
  • Adroit – skillful – from the French “droit”: right.
  • The Queen’s motto: Dieu et mon droit – God and my right
  • To sit on the right hand side of someone is an especially favoured position.

On the other hand! – Here is the etymology of the word left from Wiktionary: From Middle English, left, lift, luft; from Anglo-Saxon, left, lyft lit. worthless, weak. Says it all really! The English word “adroit”   meaning skillful, comes from the French ” a droit,” meaning to the right. ~~likewise,~~ The English “maladroit” meaning clumsy comes from French “mal a droit,” literally meaning “bad at right.”

Sayings where the word “left” does not fit

Might is left-handed Wait for Mr Left to come along The divine left of Kings
His heart is in the left place He’s not in his left mind It will all come left in the end

Sayings where the word “right” does not fit

Right in the lurch He was right at the post The right luggage office
Nothing but cold right-overs A right-handed compliment A man with two right feet

Positive references to left-handed

We have been hunting for positive language references to left-handed but are struggling to find any!

  • “Out of left field” (a baseball expression?) means unexpected and often novel, but it isn’t definitely positive
  • “The only positive use of “left” I know of is that “aristocrat” has the Greek word for “left” in its root, but then Greece was the birthplace of democracy – they may not have meant “aristocrat” to be complimentary either.” Unfortunately, even this ‘positive’ is flawed: – “Aristocrat is from aristo- meaning “best” and krat- meaning “rule”.   Aristeros does mean left, but it’s not the root here.” More on this from Catherine at UCLA… I was intrigued by your claim in this month’s LHC Newsletter that “aristocracy” has a root meaning “left”, but I am not sure you are right. “Aristos” means “best” (the superlative of “agathos” meaning “good”) and “kratia” is “rule, mastery”, and I think you may have confused “aristos” with “aristeros”, which means “left”; but, interestingly, “aristeros” is a euphemism (the Greeks were fond of these—thus the Furies were called “the kindly ones”, “Eumenides”). Since something on the left (e.g. a portent) was unlucky (!), one didn’t refer to it as such, but as “aristeros”—that is, using a fake comparative of “aristos”: roughly, “bester”. “Euônumos” meaning “of good name, honoured, fortunate” was also used.  So I’m afraid the ancient Greeks were as leftist as everyone else seems to be.
  • Have you heard anything about the Russian writer Leskov and his The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea? You can find some information in English following this wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levsha What I can add to this is that Leskov was a lefty himself.  In  that time when he wrote his story about the  Levsha (Lefty) the word “levsha” (Rus. left-handed, lefty)  was used in reference to a bad, unskillful and poor  craftsman and one of the  implications of the tale was that even  a  bad  Russian craftsman  was better that an English one. But, lefty Leskov played some kind of a  trick with the word “levsha” because very soon after the tale had been published and read, the word “levsha” changed its meaning absolutely radically!!!! Ever since then, it has meant a skillful, artful, experienced, trustful craftsman. Nowadays a lot of workshops are called Levsha (Lefty) to attract more customers/clients because it means that very professional guys work there! :) So, at least we have some positive meaning of the word “lefty” thanks to Nikolai Leskov.

If you come across any more, please add them as comments to this page.

Articles on Left Handed Language

Left handed journalist Gary Nunn wrote an excellent article in The Guardian, Jan 2013 titled “Clumsy and cack-handed? Lefties are leaders, not losers

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111 comments on “Lefty language
  1. frank eden says:

    kiber, pronounced, ki ber. some people in the north of England ie, leigh and Bolton areas. say this for left handed people.

  2. Kevin Webster says:

    Hi,

    A couple of weeks ago I was at my mothers for tea.

    While trying to open a can of beans mum piped up and chortled'”My God you’re CORKY HANDED”!!!!(

  3. Kostas says:

    Actually words “skaios”(σκαιός) exists in greek (but it isn’t used anymore). It’s an ancient greek word that means someone that behaves violently. That’s maybe because left handers are more likely to win in a hand-to-hand combat.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6773-lefthanders-win-in-handtohand-combat.html#.VPDaDqDg5oO

  4. Theresa Williamson says:

    My birthday is July 15th. My Dad is left-handed, while my Mom is right-handed. She always said my Dad thought backwards. I am left-handed but have become ambidextrous due to living in a right-handed world. I have some intuitiveness also. My Mom’s mother was a redhead, while my Dad’s mother had black hair before an illness turned it white. I am from English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and a little German extraction. I love bagpipes and kilts, but adore a lot of English things too. When I was old enough to learn to tie my shoes, I couldn’t do it right-handed like my mother, but learned it left-handed. Whenever I crochet, it is with both hands.

  5. Theresa Williamson says:

    I do not claim to be smarter than you are. I completed 100 semester hours in 2 1/2 years, 7 semesters, 2 of them being summers while typing for other students in my spare time. One of which was a grad student. I earned close to $1100 that year typing, and charging $1 per page regardless of title page or bibliography. Not to be sneezed at either.

  6. Theresa Williamson says:

    When the teacher would send me to the blackboard to write a sentence, I would start the sentence writing with my left hand and finish it with my right hand. The kids giggled because they saw me do it while the teacher didn’t know about it.

  7. Theresa Williamson says:

    My teachers did not try to change my writing hand from the left. They also showed me how to correctly aim the paper, opposite from right-handed. I can write backwards in cursive which amazes most right-handed people. Also, I can read upside down printing, like reading a book upside down. Is it just me? Can other left-handed people do these things too?

  8. Rutuja Harshe says:

    Dear LHC Team,

    I would like to correct you that making this page is at times offensive. You guys please doing this act of proving Lefty people out of the world. reading this page, I personally felt bad. I am also lefty and I do all normal things like other people. 99% of my friends and around people are righty and they are obviously good with me.

    The other part, the above mentioned discussion says Left hand is called as “Ulta Haath” in Hindi, there is nothing wrong in it. I being lefty person, I do ask righty people that, “why you are using ult Haath” It natural and common. I can not accept that my national Language – Pride – Hindi will take in wrong sense.

    Kindly improvise on the same.

    Thanking you!

    Rutuja Harshe
    Member – Left Hand Community

  9. left hander says:

    I’m a Republic of korean.
    I was left hander before. But, When I was elementary school student,
    teacher said left hander is bad. I changed right hander by beating.
    So, I use right hand in writing. but, except writing, I use left hand.
    Bcs, It’s easier than using right hand. haha.

    I had listened many advise about left hander’s badthing like left hander give damage
    when I eat meal with right hander.
    Well…But, I’m a left hander or maybe an ambidexter…haha..
    All left hander, cheer up!!

  10. David says:

    Use these terms instead:

    heart side, west handed, west side, liver side, skillful handed, prominent hand, most skillful hand, benjamin handed, benjamin side, gemini handed, gemini side, planet mercury associated hand/side

    I love ‘west’ handed and skillful handed and most skillful hand

  11. Sarah Gee says:

    I’ve lived in NE England for over 40 years,
    my husband was brought up in Yorkshire
    while his mother was from Manchester,
    so I really don’t know where the following term for
    a left hander comes from :
    keggywifter.
    But I like it! Guess the ‘keggy’ element
    and ‘cack’ aren’t too far apart.
    (Lefthanded and proud of it)

  12. Kholoud says:

    there’s also the word ” Shmal ” in arabic means left it’s used as a bad word to offense someone and this hurts me the most :(

  13. Ian says:

    Every lefty reading u guys are like my family

    Lefty and proud

  14. Fi says:

    Lmao. My mother always says I’m cack-handed. 😀 I thought she was the only one to say that.

  15. versa minor says:

    أنا من المملكة العربية السعودية وبالنسبة لمجتمعي فكوني يسرى كان شئ إيجابي ومدعاة للفخر كونهم يعرفون إيجابيات كوني يسرى ولم اتلقى
    أي كلمات سلبية سواء من العائلة أو الأصدقاء ولله الحمد

    I’m from Saudi Arabia and the community for So be left was a positive thing and a matter of pride because they know the pros left Connie was not getting any negative words, whether from family or friends and thankfully

  16. Edward says:

    That’s so sad :(

  17. Carolina says:

    In Mexico we call lefties “zurdos” more often than “chueco”. I’ve actually never been called “chueca” in my life, and I’m Mexican, though I’ve been called that in a different way, meaning that I’m doing stuff improperly because I use my left hand. However, an important thing to add (and horrible, but that’s life) is that in Spanish, Mexican or other, the left side is the “siniestra”, meaning “synister” and related to the Devil. This comes from the Catholic idea that Jesus is sitted to the right of God, whereas Lucifer and all the evil is at the right. So, sometimes people, and all Catholics, say that lefties come from the Devil or have the Devil inside because the left hand is the Devil’s hand.

  18. Kholoud says:

    hey guys my name is kholoud i’m lefty and so prud of that .
    I just wanna ask you a question :
    I’m from Egypt and teenagers here in our country some of them use the word Left as a bad meaning as to say something is bad .
    so i wanted to know if i heard such words in school when is school is on what should i do ??
    they won’t say it to me but i mean when they tell each other
    so should i pretend not to hear anything ?? or should i stand up and argue with people saying such words ??
    thanks so much for your concern and i’m very happy about this website <3

  19. Alan Scott says:

    Do you know this one?
    Left in the lurch – Abandoned in a difficult position without help.In fact, the phrase originates from the French board game of lourche or lurch, which was similar to backgammon and was last played in the 17th century. The game came to England from continental Europe and its name derives from the word ‘left’, which is ‘lurtsch’ in dialect German and ‘loyrtz’ in Middle Dutch. Why call a game ‘left’? The most plausible explanation (and regular readers will know that, in etymology, plausibility isn’t everything) is that it relates to the bad feeling against the left hand that was then commonplace in many cultures.
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/left-in-the-lurch.html

  20. Jadon says:

    On AGT one night, a woman said that her life was great but then she took a LEFT turn!

    P.S. I decided to call it handist.

  21. Pes says:

    If you made a t-shirt from the graphic associated with this story, I’d buy it in a second

  22. Yasmeen says:

    At least here in Egypt, everybody know that left handers are smart and brilliant … 😀

  23. Ann says:

    This isn’t about laanguage but its positive. A few years ago I had the opportunity to meet a group of young wemon from Tiiwan. When they saw that I was left handed they said “Oh you must be very smart. Left handed people are very smart.” That felt good after years of negative remarks about being left handed. If you think writing in English is difficult try writting Chinese.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Lefty language"
  1. […] pejorative connotations of lefthandedness confined to English or to Western culture. The web site Anything Lefthanded lists put-downs in 39 different countries. When I visited Pakistan last spring, I tried mightily to […]

  2. […] the left handed to hold toilet paper for the same function. This is the origin of the term “cack-handed“ __________________ I am hopelessly in love with You, no point giving me advice. I have […]

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