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-håndetKejthåndetAvethåndet 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 leworęczny( correct) also people use words as: mańkut, śmaja, 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” (“mańkut” 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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109 Responses to “Lefty language”

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  1. 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?

  2. 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

  3. 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!!

  4. 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

  5. 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 :
    But I like it! Guess the ‘keggy’ element
    and ‘cack’ aren’t too far apart.
    (Lefthanded and proud of it)

  6. 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 :(

  7. Ian says:

    Every lefty reading u guys are like my family

    Lefty and proud

  8. Fi says:

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

  9. 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

  10. Edward says:

    That’s so sad :(

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Pes says:

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

  16. Yasmeen says:

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

  17. 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.

  18. […] 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 […]

  19. Carole Lavine says:

    A lefty with brain damage is right handed!

  20. eileen says:

    Just to let you all know a very interesting fact. If a left handed person unfortunately has a stroke, he recovers much faster and better than a right handed person. It has to do with our brain dominance. So, we do have some perks to our left handedness!

  21. eileen says:

    One very positive thing about being left handed is that if any of us have a stroke, we recover much faster and better than right handed people. It has something to do with our brain dominance, however, it is a proven fact. Just thought you all would like to know this!

  22. Dennis says:

    hi what are the odds of have 4 out of 6s kids lefthanded ive ask this to a math teacher he didnt know i like your newsletter hope to hear from you soon dennis

  23. kaumila says:


  24. SiEgE says:

    I wanna extend the info about russian word of left-handedness. You may find something interesting, I hope. :)
    Lets start from basics – word “right-sided” – Правый(pravij) – Right sided, real, is truth.
    And now closer to the “left-sided” word – Левый(leviy)- Non-existant, fake, false, bad quality product, wrong choosen.
    Он левый(On leviy) – *He* is not one of ours, *He* is not made for this (job).

    Левша блоху подковал(Levsha blohu podkoval) – Leftie that shod a flea. From an old russian tale about a man who shod a flea. Actually, means the greatest professionality level ever possible, while being strongly unstandart at the same time.

    Also, a mental picture of word “levij”(left-sided): “this is unidentified and\or definately wrong and useless\dangerous”

  25. Katerina says:

    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)

  26. Esjie says:

    In the Philippines, it’s true that the word for left-handedness is “kaliwete” but the term we use for being unfaithful or two-timer isn’t “nangangaliwete” but “nangangaliwa”. The word “nangangaliwa” is derived from the tagalog word “kaliwa” which means left, so still, a negative connotation. :(

  27. Vlad The Rad says:

    Eat your heart out right handers, us Oddballs are next to Geniuses.

    I myself was made to write R handed and was “bullied” by teachers at infant school into “making” me write with my right hand. Did not work, they made me a radical, at 70 years old, I am still one. I had an accident to my left hand (temporary only) and guess what, I had to write “voluntarily” with my RHand, which I enjoy doing even today.

    Years ago I used to correspond from Australia, with a fellow in NZ, also a LHander, who cast a net for a similar spirit who could read/write in “mirror script” and we sent “Air Mail” letters to each other (it was fun reading and writing them without a mirror)
    As a side line, just to fill time in at one period, I taught myself to write with both hands at the same time, from the middle of the paper and I can write with my principle hand (left) upside down and my RH normal direction at the same time. Only thing to do is to smarten up and tidy the handwriting RH as I am on auto pilot with the LH.
    I use the exercise now to try to keep the dreaded debilitating brain diseases at bay.
    Good luck to all potential strugglers, don’t give up and let the *******???!!! ‘s grind you down, you’re smarter than they are – everything’s made easy for them -you HAVE to come to terms with it.

    Old Cack Handed Radical (and damned proud of it).

    • 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.

  28. sam hansen says:

    Just thought I’d share with all the hullaballoo in My life. Back in the day I worked on Industrial Chimneys. I was making a drop in a boatswain’s chair, on the side of the chair I had a bucket that I kept My work gloves in. Guess what? You guessed it I forgot them. Bottom line I tore up my right hand. My secret weapon My left hand was brand new and got Me to the ground. So I could say being ambidextrous saved My life. Well “NO WAY JOSE” I’m a “SOUTHPAW” and I will be for the rest of My life. As Always Sam.

  29. Raul says:

    “Vasaku kaeline” is left handed in Estonian and “Parema-kaeline” is right handed in Estonian.

  30. Timothy McLaurin says:

    There is some obvious debate about the ‘Smartness’ of people who are right handed versus left handed individuals and vice versa. I am right handed. A definition for ‘Smartness’ is really required.

    I certainly do not claim to be smarter than all left handed people, yet I do claim to have earned more college semester hours (430 semester hours) at more Universities (nine different Universities) than any living or dead human being, thus the United States and World Record. In addition, if you take a look at my chemistry website (www.AbsoluteConfiguration.com or also listed at the website, http://www.RSconfiguration.com), you will note that spatial orientation and/or creativity, is not necessarily a higher trait of left handed individuals.

    It is noted though, left handed people are encountered with 90% right handed people. Imagine being left handed and you hold your hand out to shake the hand of another person, which hand would you hold out in order to shake hands with the other person, considering 90% of people are right handed? Or, as a left handed person, would you wait for the other person to hold out their hand, in order to shake hands, so that you shake hands with the correct hand? Obviously, left handed people are more challenged by society, because 90% of people are right handed.

    The previous paragraph is mentioned without taking into account, the left and right sides of the human brain and their respective functions, of which, is also a constant in the equation of the definition of ‘Smartness’.

    In the United States, people are trained to look left and then right. Take the example of driving a vehicle or crossing the street. You would look left first, before you look right, because of the oncoming traffic would be, first, from the left. When reading a book, at least in the United States, we read from left to right.

    There are 1,000’s of very important people, throughout history, that attained a very high status amongst other people in society. Those people are both right handed and left handed. So once again, the definition of ‘Smartness’ is required.

    Hope that helps, at least a little bit :)


    • 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.

  31. Luis Romero says:

    I wonder whether there is some research or anecdotal experience about the effect of changing hands at a mature age.

    I was left handed, forced to write with my right hand and became “ambiawkard” (I do not think I am skillfull with either hand as the latin root “dexterous”, which seems to inply in the words “ambidexterous”, wich etymollogically refers to having two skillful right hands.

    What will happen to my brain if I be change myself to become fully left-handed, including writing?

    In recent years there has been a lot of discussion of NEUROPLASTICITY (the lifelong ability of the brain to change and rewire itself, in response to new stimulations) and NEUROGENESIS (The ability of the brain to create new neurons and new connetions between them).

    How do these two ideas apply to a change of a forced right-hander to a full left hander?
    Is my natural lefthandedness like old unused wiring which can become stronger with use? Are the old lefthander’s connections still there in an undevelopperd way? More importantly, will the change to full lefthandedness affect my present mental abilities, such as attention, memory or executive functions?


    • David says:

      In answer to all your questions…an emphatic ‘YES’

      West side of the body/Right brain dominance….or a ‘WESTY’/’LEVSHA’ or what some people call left side of the body….IS easily neuromuscularly devolped through use, and use and use and use and use and use and use….you get the message…practice makes perfect so to say…

      keep being right brained/lefthanded dominant/lefty


  32. Frederick says:

    A left hander has an advantage in a fist fight, provided the other person is right handed and does not know you are left handed.

  33. Laura says:

    I grew up being called “Lefty Louie” which is now what my nephew is called as well. My paternal grandmother was forced to write ‘righty’ reverted back to left handedness when she was in her 80s! At least half of her descendants are lefties, too!

  34. CAROLYN DALY says:


  35. Louisa says:

    I am a lefty and proud of it. My first husband and I had 2 beautiful boys…both right handed and then I had twins…mirror twins. The boy is left handed and the girl is right handed. Funny but in this case both me and their dad are lefties…but the girl she is right handed!

  36. kathy says:

    I’m a lefty who plays tennis in a league with other women. Despite the fact that they now realize I’m left handed, somehow my game throws them off because of it. Didn’t realize I had an edge because of this until i started playing with a group. I love it!
    I’ve never thought of it as a disadvantage, just a distinguishing feature that sets me apart from the masses.

  37. Vishal Sathyan says:

    Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative. The word “left” itself derives from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means “weak”. The Latin word sinistra originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” by the Classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives in European derivatives of Latin, and in the English word “sinister”. Alternatively, sinister comes from the Latin word sinus meaning “pocket”: a traditional Roman toga had only one pocket, located on the left side. The right hand has historically been associated with skill: the Latin word for right-handed is dexter, as in “dexterity”, meaning manual skill. Even the word “ambidexterity” reflects the bias. Its intended meaning is “skillful on both sides”. However, since it keeps the Latin root dexter, which means “right”, it ends up conveying the idea of being “right-handed at both sides”. This bias is also apparent in the lesser-known antonym “ambisinistrous”, which means “clumsy on both sides”. In more technical contexts, “sinistral” may be used in place of “left-handed” and “sinistrality” in place of “left-handedness”.

    Meanings gradually developed from use of these terms in the ancient languages. In many modern European languages, including English, the word for the direction “right” also means “correct” or “proper”, and also stands for authority and justice. In most Slavic languages the root prav is used in words carrying meanings of correctness or justice. In French, droit(e) (cognate to English direct) means both “right” and “straight”, as well as “law” and the legal sense of “right”, while gauche means “left” and is also a synonym of maladroit, literally “not right”, meaning “clumsy”. Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German have similar constructs. The Spanish term diestro and the Italian term destro mean both “right-handed” and “skillful”. The contemporary Italian word sinistra has both meanings of sinister and left (the masculine adjective for sinister being sinistro), and maldestro means “clumsy”. The Spanish siniestra has both, too, although the “left” meaning is less common and is usually expressed by izquierda, a Basque word that made its way into Portuguese as well. In some Spanish-speaking countries, to do something por izquierda means to engage in corrupt conduct or employ illegitimate means, whereas por derecha or a derechas means to do it the right (legitimate) way. In Portuguese, the most common word for left-handed person, canhoto, was once used to identify the devil, and canhestro, a related word, means “clumsy”. In German, recht means “right” (direction) and “right” (correct), while the word link means “left” and that someone is back-stabbing or a liar.

    The Dutch word links also means “left” and “clumsy” or “awkward”. In Irish, deas means “right side” and “nice”. Ciotóg is the left hand and is related to ciotach meaning “awkward”; ciotógach (kyut-OH-goch) is the term for left-handed. In Welsh, the word chwith means “left”, but can also mean “strange”, “awkward”, or “wrong”. The Scots term for left-handedness is corrie fistit. The term can be used to convey clumsiness.

    In Finnish, the word oikea means both “right” (okay, correct) and “right” (the opposite of left). In Swedish, vänster means “left”. The term vänsterprassel means “infidelity”, “adultery” and “cheating”. From this term the verb vänstra (lit. “lefting”) is derived.

    In Hungarian, the word for right is jobb, which also means “better”. The word for left is bal, which also means “bad”. In Polish, the word prawo means: right as well as law, prawy means: lawful; the word lewy means: left (opposite of right), and colloquial “illegal” (opposite of legal). In Estonian, the word pahem stands for both “left” and “worse” and the word parem stands for both “right” and “better”.

    In Chinese culture, the adjective “left” (Chinese character: 左, Mandarin: zuǒ) sometimes means “improper” or “out of accord”. For instance, the phrase “left path” (左道, zuǒdao) stands for unorthodox or immoral means.

    In Korean, the word for right is oreun (오른), to be compared to the word meaning morally proper, oreheun (옳은) which shares the same pronunciation.

    In Hebrew, as well as in other ancient Semitic and Mesopotamian languages, the term “left” was a symbol of power or custody. The left hand symbolized the power to shame society, and was used as a metaphor for misfortune, natural evil, or punishment from the gods. This metaphor survived ancient culture and was integrated into mainstream Christianity by early Catholic theologians, such as Ambrose of Milan, to modern Protestant theologians, such as Karl Barth, to attribute natural evil to God in explaining God’s omnipotence over the universe.

    The left side is often associated with awkwardness and clumsiness. The Spanish expression “tener dos pies izquierdos”, in English, the expression “to have two left feet”, refers to clumsiness in the domains of football or dancing. A “left-handed compliment” is considered one that is unflattering or dismissive in meaning. The Polish expression “mieć dwie lewe ręce”, Dutch “twee linkerhanden hebben”, German “zwei linke Hände haben”, the Bulgarian expression “dve levi ratse”, French “avoir deux mains gauches”, Hungarian kétbalkezes and Czech “Mít obě ruce levé” all mean “to have two left hands”—that one is clumsy or is a very poor handyman. The English equivalent of the phrase is “being all thumbs”. Moreover, the German idiom “mit dem linken Fuß aufgestanden sein”, the Spanish expression “levantarse con el pie izquierdo”, the French expression “s’être levé du pied gauche”and the Hungarian expression “bal lábbal kel fel” (literally, to have gotten up with the left foot) mean to have a bad day and do everything wrong or unsuccessfully, related to the English expression “to get up on the wrong side of the bed”. The Welsh phrase “tu chwith allan” (left side out) refers to an object being inside-out. In Russian, the use of the term nalyevo means “on the left”, but can also connotate taking bribes or “sneaky” behavior. Balszerencse (lit. “left luck”) is Hungarian for “bad luck”.

    There are many colloquial terms used to refer to a left-handed person, e.g. “southpaw” or “goofy” (USA). Some are just slang or jargon words, while other references may be offensive or demeaning, either in context or in origin. In some parts of the English-speaking world, “cack-handed” is slang for left-handed, and is also used to mean clumsy. The origin of this term is disputed, but some suggest it is derived from the Latin cacare, in reference to the habit of performing ablutions with the left hand, leaving the right hand “clean”. However, other sources suggest that it is derived from the Old Norse word keikr, meaning “bent backwards”. Australians frequently use “cacky-handed”. A less common Australian slang word for a left-handed individual is the term Molly-Dooker, whose origins cannot be ascertained for certain.

    • Tammy says:

      Hello! I am a lefty from Canada. Just to let you know it was also practiced here not to write left handed. I was not punished as severe,but, it was looked down on. I also find math so easy. It is like answers pop in my head. I have to say that sports came easy, and always learning right gave me a great left game. Today many people say left handers are in the right side of their brain. So who is “right”. interested T

    • Carol Mercer says:

      Seriously? What are you, eleven-teen??????????? You are entitled you your opinion and good for you, but…really? Take a deep breath…In through the nose, count to ten, then exhale slowly from your mouth. Chill out, take it one breathe at a time…. All will be fine, calm down it’s not worth the worry! Vishal, everything will be OK! My thoughts are with you, one day at a time. OK?

    • Barry says:

      An interesting point that you haven’t mentioned is the incidence of potentialy fatal autoimune disease amongst the left handed population

  38. Filip says:

    ROMANIAN: Expression “starting with the left foot” means having bad luck from the beginning

  39. […] 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 […]

  40. Lynn says:

    I was one of those children whose mother hit my left hand every time I switched the pencil.
    I wished she hadn’t done that. I was 3yrs old. This is a heavy burden to place on a small child, I feel. There was a stigma about being a lefty. She finally got smart and just turned the paper so I didn’t cramp up my hand to write. My uncle was left handed, and he was the wild one in his family, and because I was left-handed I also became the wild one in my family too. I became the “Devil’s Spawn”.

    There are still books at the Library that are negative about being left-handed.

    You see, as an adult, ( 54 yrs) I read books about how the brain works. The left hemisphere of a person’s brain is the creative part, and the right side of the brain is the analytical part.

    I was even working a job, when my brain went tilt, (It’s like my brain had an overload melt down). I really can’t explain what really happened to me. I realized I was working the wrong job, because I didn’t have an analytical mind. I found out that all I would be is the creative part, which I had no idea what kind of work would be suited for me.
    I feel at 3 yrs old that my brain was compromised. My parents thought I wouldn’t make much out of myself, and they were right.

    There’s not a whole lot of positive information, about being left-handed, except we are few.

  41. An Israeli lefty says:

    In Hebrew left handed is “Iter” (pronounced eete’r) or just Sma’ly (Smol is left in Hebrew).
    “Ani Sma’ly” (in Hebrew means I’m left handed)

    • Another Israeli lefty says:

      More interesting things about left handed people in Hebrew:

      # There were left handed people in the bible too:

      “20:15 The children of Benjamin were numbered on that day out of the cities twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 20:16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men left-handed; everyone could sling stones at a hair-breadth, and not miss.” (shoftim/Judges, 20:16)

      And the only man in the bible that his name was given and was left handed: Ehud the son of Gera( = Ehud ben Gera): “3:15 But when the children of Israel cried to Yahweh, Yahweh raised them up a savior, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a man left-handed. The children of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab.”(Judges, 3:15)

      Ehud ben Gera killed Eglon the king of Moab by a trick that only a left handed (Iter or Iter yad yemino in Hebrew. Iter is written in the bible 7 times, by the way.) could do. Like written: “3:16 Ehud made him a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length; and he wore it under his clothing on his right thigh.” When people put their sword in their right thigh it meant they are not going to use it (unlike in the left side which is easy for right handed people to use the sword). That is how he got to see the king and kill him- “3:21 Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his body”.

      I think left handed warriors in the bible was considered as “war heroes”, and very good warriors as well.

      # There are some laws in the Orthodox Judaism that go by your dominant hand. like, how to lay Tefillin (The arm-tefillin is placed on the biceps of the left arm, two finger breadths away from the elbow joint, with the box facing inward towards the heart. Left-handed people place the arm-tefillin on their right arm.). There are some other things as well (also about laws that you have to start with your right leg/hand).

      # 137:5 “If I forget you, Jerusalem,
      let my right hand forget its skill.” (Psalm 137:5) – I guess the bible see the right hand as the powerful one. In any Jewish wedding before breaking the glass the man say this psalm and then break the glass (even if he is left handed…).

      # Expressions in Hebrew that relates to the left: “Kam al zad smol” = “woke up on the left side” That means someone had a bad day. “Itchil beregel smol” = “Got started on the left leg”. That means that his start was bad. “Lavash at hahulza al zad smol” = “wore the shirt backward”. “ba-al shtey yadaim smaliyot” = “he has two left hands”. That means people who have probelms in technical areas, like people who are really bad in fixing things,etc.
      As you can see, all the expressions here present the left side/hand as a bad thing…

      • Another Israeli lefty says:

        Oh, here is a link to some of the things I said and some other stuff. The person there wrote it better :)

      • David says:

        I play snooker/pool lefthandedly
        I kick leftfootedly
        I play basketball lefthandedly, (can play both, but easily prefer left hand and simply do that)
        I write lefhandedly, (once again can do both)
        I draw lefthandedly, (once again cad do both)
        I am stronger with my left hand and left foot
        I am very artistica and creative
        I am very philosophical, inventive, full of iniative and very determined
        I love God and my supernatural gifts HE has given me
        I am psychic
        I am a red haired person,…have red in my hair on my scalp and I have a orange/red beard
        I am a ‘gemini’…which actually comes from the word ‘jamin’/’jamini’…and Benjamites are actually the lefthanded tribe of israel and the word ‘benjamin’ comes from the words ‘ben jamini’…which means ‘son of Jamini’

        So I am definitely a lefty and I was even born on the day of Gemini/Mercury/Wednesday

        Btw…all Geminis are at least ambidextrous….Mercury rule the left arm in astrology…and the Moon rules the left leg….my sun sign is Gemini and Mercry rules Gemini…and my moon sign is Taurus….Taurus is THE moon sign to have…very intuitive and strong emotionally…emotions = moon in astrology

        See…I was meant to be lefthanded and God knew what HE was doing…so BE ENCOURAGED EVERYONE…YOU WERE MEANT TO BE LEFTHANDED….GOD MADE YOU THAT WAY….NATURALLY OF COURSE…


        • 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.

  42. Tom Kelly says:

    Right handed people have more dental plaque and groves on there left side compared to left handed people who have the same situation on their right side. SO being right handed has created problems for right handed people.

  43. Chorddog says:


  44. Tizzy says:

    I was always called south paw. Does anyone know why?
    Both my children write left-handed but do everything right-handed. I wonder if this is from copying me when doing homework with them?

  45. Osmond Nesbitt says:

    I am a born and proud lefty, living in Toronto, Canada. I am interested in sharing correspondence with women who, like myself, are lefties.
    Would appreciate receiving e-mails. Any lefties out there?

  46. Tom Kelly says:


    We are left with what is right,
    and what is right
    is what we are left with .
    Tom Kelly

    The right handed may have a lot of trouble understanding this.

  47. Eric says:

    I’ve been living in China for four years and being a lefty and writing with my left hand makes me something of a phenomenon, since Chinese schools for thousands of years makes people write with their right hand. Over the years only Westerners and one of my Korean classmates ever wrote Chinese characters with their left hand.

    You mentioned Chinese but I’ll add a little more to it from a culture side. The Chinese character for left, zuo (左), is a combination of a hand and a tool, meaning that in ancient China the hand you use a tool with was your left. In contrast the word for right, you (右) is a hand with a mouth, meaning the hand you use to eat with.

    The slang term for a left is zuo piezi. Zuo for left, pie (peeyeeah, not like pie) one of the standard brush strokes in writing Chinese characters, and zi, for a person, a lad. So put together it means “A person who does a pie stroke with their left hand.” Up to now I’ve seen and heard nothing but amazement that I write Chinese with my left hand. Chinese attribute this to being extremely intelligent and a person mentions it every time they see me write. Why would you ever want to change with attention like that.

    FYI – There are many Chinese who do things with their left hands, particularly eat with chopsticks, but writing nowadays is ALWAYS done with the right hand, though many calligraphy masters (more like painting) did it with their left hand.

  48. Afshin Javar says:

    In Iran the word “Chap” is equivalent to the word “Left” and it has a negative meaning in speaking or in persian literature .
    I translate and describe some persian sentences for example :
    – ( Dastesh Chape ) his hand is left : it means he is a stealer

    – ( Chapool ) Skewed to the left : someone who can not see or aim properly . for example when someone shoots a ball to the wrong direction , people say he is a Chappol !

    – ( Az dandeye Chap Boland shodan ) To wake up from the Left Rib : when someone is angry or moody or behaves unusual people use this phrase

    – ( Chap Kardan – Chape shodan ) To overturn : when a car or something overturns

    – ( Chap oftadan ) to behave rudely or turning into an enemy : when bad things or arguments between two friends or people happens and one of them behaves rudely afterwards because he is angry with his friends.

    – ( Chap negah kardan ) to squint : it means if a persan looks or behaves improperly toward someone or something

    but in general nowadays Iranian People respect left handers and consider us as samrt and intelligent people with high IQ level and believe me ! Lefties Rock !

  49. nancy many says:

    to Sonja from the netherlands,
    And all others who were born Catholic. When I was first in Sunday school, I automatically was reprimanded for making the sign of the cross with my left hand, and had to learn to do it right handed. I wonder if nowadays I could just start using my let hand? What are they going to do to me – there are no more nuns with rulers (LOL)

    Also my husband is an accomplished musician/composer and he sent me a copy of a story about how learning music makes this certain part of your brain bigger — in anyone who learns it.

    I wrote him back that Left handers always have to use Both Sides of our brains all the time, so ours are certainly larger and more balanced than others.

    Mixing up right and left — OMG when I am the navigator for my husband’s driving, I will point my left arm to the left and say “take a right here”… At least by now he is used to it.

    And the table siting, I always have to be at one or two ends (or at the head) because I will constantly bump into the person next to me. When I go out with a group or right handers, and I tell them this, they don’t get it, but if they ever sit me betwee to right handers they get if really quickly.

    I am going to church today and I will try blessing my self with my left hand and see if anyone drops over due to the Blasphemy of it. I’ll let you know.

    I have had some Behavioural Eye Therapy, and we were working on placing things that matched a moving wheel. the therapist was shocked she had never seen anyone use both hands on this exercise, well if it was on the left, I would use my left hand and on the right I would use my right hand. I didn’t think it was odd.

    Also I have discoveered, that I have worked out my living left handed in this right handed world that I do all my fine motor skills with my left hand, and almost all gross motor skills with my right. No one could teach me baseball left handed, etc.

    I do enjoy being left handed now.


  50. Sonja says:

    It is fun reading all the comments and browsing through this website. As a lefty, I grew up with righthanded parents and righthanded siblings, and they always made fun of me. When I set the dinner table, the forks and knives where on the wrong side. They always could tell when I set the table!

    One comment I read, I think is very true, which is that us lefties had to learn to do many things righthanded. That is why I always say that my righthand is more ‘developed’ than a righthanded persons’ lefthand. I am just used to doing more with my righthand than righthandedn people with their lefthand.
    People are always amazed then I explain the small inconvieniences of being a lefty, such as the knives, canopeners, and even a golfcap, where the magnet for the marker is on the right. I always reach for the wrong side. But all in all I manage being a lefty just fine.

    Another comment struck me aswell: I always want to make the cross sign in church with my lefthand, and was not allowed to! And indeed folding sheets with a righthanded person or moving furniture! It’s fun to read that other people have that too!!

    And I too have difficulties saying which is which, left or right. I mix them up quite easily.

    Sonja from the Netherlands

    • Carol says:

      I have trouble with directions too , never ask me for directions as i always say left even when I mean to say right . As for can openers ,forget it , i can not for the life of me use them ,thank goodness for ring pul cans nowadays . When i first started school many many years ago , i remember having to see someone ,they tried all sorts of tests ,and result was no point in trying to change her ,will do more harm than good. :)
      I wasn’t any good at hop tying as i had to sit the opposite side to every one else , but any job that needs to be done anti clock wise, i’m the person to do it . When knitting every thing is mirror image to the pattern ,as in if i’m knitting the right side ,it actually is the right .
      At work they know when i am on duty as the tick is back to front ,mirror image , i make know apologies for it it’s just easier to do . Just freaks people out sometimes lol

  51. Fionnuala says:

    In Irish a left-handed person is a ‘cithóg’ pronounced kith-og (long ‘o’ sound). There is no negative/derogatory translation. The word has only word meaning.

  52. 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… I am very left handed and have chosen to take felhänt as a compliment even when it’s not intended as one ;)
    Also, one of my teachers in high school took us to a church built around 1300 and showed us the ceiling paintings and on the left side they showed demons and devils and such while the right side showed angels. He also mentioned that at a time when men and women would not sit together in church the women would sit on the the left side, thus protecting the men from evil..

  53. Fergal says:

    Hi there. I would contest the Irish definition of “left-handed” or “ciotóg” as i had always understood there to be a more flattering and alternative meaning to it. In the Irish language cat is “cat” (i know, not much deviation there but it’s pronounced “cchot.”) The Irish for young is “óg.” So “ciotóg” means “young cat” or “kitten.” The reason? All kittens are left-pawed initially when they are born.

  54. Elizabeth Christianson says:

    Here in the U.S. we don’t have near the colourful array of nick-names for lefthanders!

    To each and every one of you, fascinating posts! I call myself lefthanded, but I only use my left hand to write, draw and perform some types of precision tasks while I use my right hand for sewing/cutting with scissors, lifting, tasks that use tools and machinery and the like. (I think I even flip a bird with my right hand…just checked and yes I do :) I have no memory of how my hands ended up learning to do the things they do. Something I do recall are the red lines drawn through various letters in words in essays noting the variation of slant. I became very skilled in backslant. :)

  55. Eva L says:


    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 something bad.

  56. Phlaptay says:

    In American Baseball, when a South-paw comes up to pitch or bat, it’s rough on the opposite team, but the sponsoring teams love it!

  57. Kitty Palmer says:

    I recently had the pleasure of reading my old primary school end of year reports dated from the late 1980’s, and all of them stated that I was left handed (as if my parents hadn’t noticed) but I was “coping with it”!!!! From the tones of these reports you would have thought I was disabled because of my leftyness. I can also remember being made to sit in a “special” larger and higher chair than the other right handed children. Not sure why but thanks school for making a child feel really out of place and displayed for it.

    Also my mother can remember the school offering to turn me right handed if she wanted….thankfully my mother told them to leave me alone and that I was pefectly fine as I was.

    • Mandy says:

      The health visitor tried getting my mum to make me use my right hand when I was tiny but my mum refused. The HV came to visit and noticed I was holding my cup in my left hand and commented on it to my mum and told her to put it in my right hand, my mum told her she had done that before and I just switched it right back so I was obviously going to be left handed and at that point the HV told my mum to keep putting it back into my right hand so I would have stop using my left one!! Like your experience Kitty you would have thought it was a disability!

    • Elizabeth Christianson says:

      RE: Your chair at school, maybe it was the only chair left ;) Seriously, myself being left handed I sit at an angle and perhaps the chair afforded more comfortable seating. And, Bravo to your Mom!

  58. varun - india says:

    In the ancient Hindu culture, during a wedding, the bride would be seated to the left of the groom, as the female gender was then regarded inferior. this was probably because the left was regarded inferior. offerings to god (like flowers, etc.) were strictly made with the right hand. However, modern Hindu priests of today do not insist on the usage of right hand in religious ceremonies.
    We Indians eat with hand & consume a cooked vegetable preparation more frequently than a salad in a meal. Hence the former is served on the right side of the plate. people often tend to look awkwardly when I take the cooked veg. on the left side.

  59. Ezra Kaimukilwa says:

    I am not sure whether I inherited left-handedness, both my parents are right-handed, my two uncles are left-handed, my sister and my young brother are left-handed, and my step mother is left handed. It is strange that I use my left hand in all I do except in writing, this is because it is my father who taught me to write and read before I went to school, and so he discouraged me to use the left hand to write.

    In our community a left hander is called ‘mashoto’, this is neutral,meaning ‘the one who uses the left hand’ but the negative one is ‘mkono wa mavi’ which means the hand used in cleaning oneself after toilet.

    • Mandy says:

      I was taught in Biology at school that left-handedness was genetic so it is always hereditary. Left-handedness is the recessive gene and right-handedness is the dominant gene therefore you need 2 parents with the gene for left-handedness to produce a left handed child, this does not mean they are left handed as there may only have been one of their parents who had the gene but they have passed it on to them. Both my parents are right handed and so is my sister, however my maternal grandfather was a natural leftie but forced to use his right hand, and one of my cousins on my dad’s side is also a leftie so it is in both sides of my family, as both my parents had the gene they ended up with a left handed child. I have 3 children who are all right handed but my niece is also left handed.

    • karen says:


      my mum and dad are right handed and my3
      brother and my sister im laft handed 1 brother
      and my grandperant were righthanded, so may be
      is some thing in the dna in fact if you look at the anceint
      egyptian gods the power rod that they hold is in the left hand
      and is more sacred than the ankh, look for your self and see

    • karen says:


      my mum and dad are right handed and my3
      brother and my sister im laft handed and 1 brother
      and my grandperant were righthanded, so may be
      is some thing in the dna in fact if you look at the anceint
      egyptian gods the power rod that they hold is in the left hand
      and is more sacred than the ankh, look for your self and see

  60. Jane Taylor says:

    Dear Team,

    I can relate to Carole Nowells, my school experiences mirror hers, I too was hit with a ruler across the knuckles for writing with my left hand. It has left me with difficulty when I have to think about which is my left and which is my right. It would be interesting to know when Carole was educated, my experiences relate to the late 1960’s.

    My ex-husband and I are both left-handed, we both came from completly right-handed families and we had two children who are both right-handed, so left-handedness is not inherited in our cases.

    The fact that we were both left handed ment that we could establish a left-handed household (as far as possilble), eg toilet roll on the left side, cutulry draw on the left and so on.

    Things I find difficulty with, instructions and diagrams, they are always set out for right handed people. I get around this by setting every thing out as in the diagram and then reversing it all. Knitting patterns are the worst, it helps if you turn the pattern upside down. I learned to knit by sitting opposite a right-handed person and mirrored what she did. I find the written instructions impossible to follow because they are back to front for us left-handers.

    Machines and machinary are also a problem, even something like a sewing machine is designed for the right-handed eye to follow. The family do not let me near a tin opener because I always wind them the wrong way and break them. When driving we choose to park on the opposite side to a right-handed person, it is difficult when carrying objects eg furniture with a right-handed person because they will turn the opposite way.

    Have you ever done something as simple as folding a sheet or blanket with a right-handed person, it can be very frustrating ? I am sure most left-handed people have had documents and papers handed to them to sign angled to the right, pen placed on the right for them. People still seem shocked when I then reach across with my left hand take the pen and then re-angle the paper to the left to sign it.

    I have found lots of positives about being left-handed, we can be good at sport, quick thinking, artistic, we have quick reflexes and we adapt well, we have to it enables us to live in a right-handed world.

    Jane Taylor

  61. Carole Nowell says:

    When I first went to school my teachers used to call me cack handed and one of my teachers tried to force me to write with my right hand. When I told her my dad was left handed too I got a rap over the knuckles with the ruler for “being cheeky”. I can now write with my right hand as well (very handy when I broke my arm!) but no-one can read it except me!!!!! This experience made me cautious about advertising my “left handedness” whilst still at school. When I started work, one of my bosses was also left handed and he described us “lefties” as cultured, artistic and gifted” – which I much prefer.

  62. Jarrah says:

    My parents (both right handed) had two left handed (out of 3) children.
    Now they have two left handed (out of 3) grandchildren.
    One of the grandchildren has two right handed parents and the other has one of each.
    My sister-in-law wants me to teach her son to write, cut paper etc as I have neater skills than my lefty brother. My brother wants me to teach the same lad how to bat and play sports as he (my brother) was forced to play right handed and doesn’t want to do the same to his son. As a girl nobody cared if I played left handed.

  63. Sisyphus48 says:

    I really can’t remember but I must have been forced to write with my right hand as I’m a lefty in everything else and my younger sister is a lefty (I’m 62). People have always commented hold bad my hand writing is so perhaps it is because I’m naturally a lefty. Within the last few years I practiced writing with my left hand and although it is definitely slower the writing is more legible. I wonder what a right handers hand writing would look like if they were forced to write left handed when they first started to write?

  64. Ashley says:

    I remember when I was in kindergarden the first few times I tried to write my name I would always end up mirror writing, no one could seem to understand why though.
    Lucky for me they never tried to make me use my right hand. Or at least if they did I didn’t listen to them and just went on using my left, I didn’t realize I was different until everyone got into trying to write things with their opposite hands and they all used their left, I couldn’t understand why everything they’d try to write was so illegible with their left hands, so I tried it with my right hand and mine was actually half way neat. But, aside from that I knew I was different. I didn’t meet a friend my age that was left handed until grade 7. He still seemed different though. The only person I know besides my mother and aunt that is left handed and seems to share interests like me is my music teacher, I only know he is left handed because when I was writing he seemed to notice and point out that we were both left-handed.
    My friends even mock me sometimes for being left-handed. they will say “I’m ashley and I write with my left hand” or they will say they just don’t understand how I can write with my left hand and ask me why I do.
    The good thing is though, they seem to think I am much nicer than the average person and very talented when it comes to music and academics.
    They do think I’m clumsy though, which when you try to use right handed things when you are left-handed it may not work out so well.

  65. tom lockley says:

    hi, it is nice to hear from you, i am usually called gammy handed back in liverpool or being a lefty however i can use both hands except for writing. i don,t use my mouse with my left.i feel that i am more ajustable than a right handed person. as i am a retired tradesman i can use a hammer with either hand this makes me an all around person. having read a lot on my computer (including yours) my eyes where opened by so many famous people.i notice that sir francis drake was is not on thee lists. as i have been in his home on dartmoor now a convent the proof was there for you to read. i know a guy from sheffield who was as a small boy was placed in a lower class at school for being a lefty it seems to me the teacher was a fool. my school teacher named george williams was a cartoonist nown with the liverpool echo newspaper as gwil.he said i may be as the only boy in his class as left handed try not to smudge your ink when writing. he was a great teacher us boy,s loved him with his cartoons on the board in our spare time. i am [email protected]

  66. Mandy says:

    When I started school I had trouble with writing. I used to start writing at the right-hand side of the page instead of the left because that was natural to me. We also had to do 2-finger spaces between each letter which if you’re a lefty is not easy as you are having to write over your right hand to start a word, something that my mum brought up with my teacher when she told her that I was very slow at my writing! Mind you at least I was allowed to use my left hand to write, my grandfather was naturally left-handed but had his left hand tied behind his back and forced to use his right one!

    When we got into Primary 7 we got taught to crochet, unless you were a lefty! Our sewing teacher could not teach a left how to crochet so we had to knit while everyone else was learning this new skill. Talk about making a child feel inferior! Luckily for me my mum’s friend is very skilled at crocheting and she taught me by simply sitting directly across from me so my left hand was opposite her right one and I just copied her movements. The only disadvantage is that when following a pattern I have to remember that technically I’m doing it backwards so when doing things like armholes I have to turn it round in my head.

  67. nancy many says:

    a)I was lucky, my father worked in my school system and he arranged for a specialist to come in and teach us lefties and the teachers how to help with handwriting. My children are all right handed, so I could not help them with their writing.

    b) I was being tested in a visual behavior test and the tester noticed something she had never seen before, and that was that I did all fine motor skills with my left hand and major motor skills with my right. That’s how I adapted, no one could teach me left handed sports.

    c) I was Catholic and when they were teaching us the sign of the cross, I could not understand why they would not let me do it with my left hand. I still don’t.

    d) When a lefty cuts and eats his meat, the implements never change hands, but righty’s always have to change fork and knife to do it. never understood that.

    e)I learned to crochet from a right handed person so I hold the hook and yarn the way a right hander does it, but to make my crochet, I do it backwards to all the right handed people. I move the yarn and crochet hook in the opposite way to right handed people.

    f) I aways knew I was left handed, and left footed (always lead with the left foot), but I had no idea I was Left Eyed till I went shopping for camers, and I was limited to the few that I could use my left eye for the viewfinder. That was a wake up call.

    Those are my little notes of life in America left handed…


    • Liz says:

      Hi Nancy
      Apologies if this explanation has already been put forward but there are too many comments to read them all!
      I suspect that you were not allowed to make the sign of the cross with your left hand because the left was associated with the Devil, ‘the left hand path’ was ‘the Devil’s path’.

  68. Dr Ben says:

    Saw a video of a Paul McCartney [Beatles’ fame] concert the other day…..’there was something ‘wrong’ [gauche..:-)]’….the other players were strumming the strings of their guitars with their right [‘conventional’] hands…but he was using his left[!]…..’so his instrument must have been a custom-built mirror image of a conventional guitar’??

    • Mandy says:

      Dr Ben

      You can buy left-handed guitars, but they are more expensive than a conventional guitar. One trick that some people use is to just to take the strings off their guitar, turn it round and re-string it the opposite way from ‘normal’ voila a left-handed guitar.

      • Bob says:

        Of course the most well known example of turning the guitar over and re-stringing it is Jimi Hendrix, considered by most to be the best rock guitarist of all time! I was watching a documentary about him, and although he played his own guitar like this, he would go out to clubs and use a right handed guitar or bass in the conventional way…..he was just a genius, if you ask me!
        The other day i was looking at bass players on You Tube, and there is a girl who plays bass left handed, but strung righty, with the thinner strings toward the top! That is a bit unconventional. There was a folk music player named Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten that used this same technique on guitar. I’m lefty and play right handed bass and guitar. The only player I know of who does this professionally is Mark Knoffler of Dire Straits. I often wonder if I would have played better/easier had I used a lefty instrument from the start.

  69. Paul says:

    “Leworeczcy or mankut in Polish,Meaning:illegal”

    You’re wrong – there’s no such word like “leworeczcy” or “mankut” (“mańkut” is correct).
    If you want to say that something is illegal, you use word “lewy” which means “left” in english.

  70. Miguel says:

    Hi all, I am from Costa Rica, in Central America, an here we use the word “zurdo” to refer to lefty and the word “zurda” to refer to the left hand,

  71. RACHEL NOVAL says:


  72. Marwan says:

    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 looser while the second means the one who faces hard times, both words shows who our cultures considers left handers as loosers or people with less abilities, while on the contrary we have more skills but we just need suitable tools.

  73. Dave Miller says:

    Not sure if this is the right place to make this comment, but in heraldry, “right” is “dexter”, left is “sinister”. Another negative association with leftness and left handedness.

  74. Adolfo says:

    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)”.

  75. Spud the 100% lefty says:

    WOW! Nice to know how we get so badly treated in these cultres! Hmmmmm… I wonder if we will be slaves! haha it’s weird why in english it just means the other side to your right or is it the hand of the devil? Either way LEFTY’S RULE!

    My nickname (spud) means left handed! spuddy handed (well sorta!)

    To all left’s HI BROTHERS/SISTERS!

    • cat says:

      hi spud im a lefty handed too ha ha

    • Marty says:

      Perhaps Obama can have a pitch and putt hole and a basketball hoop ilstanled on Air Force One, so that he can indulge in all three of his favorite activities as POTUS while on Air Force One (jetting around, playing basketball and golfing).

    • Bob says:

      We were not slaves in early societies, I think we were just put to death! (Yikes!)
      I guess if that was the penalty, I’d switch….but not for any other reason.

  76. 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.

  77. admin says:

    We have a had a lot of interest in this page and loads of comments from people sent by email so we will keep adding to the content. We ARE still struggling to find positive language references to lefthanders though – can you help?

  78. Lefthander says:

    There must be some really positive references to us somewhere out there? I hope people will add more as comments to this page.

  79. Lefthander says:

    This was really interesting – amazing how we always get so badly treated in all these languages!