Left-handedness – Terms

Most cultures have employed value-laden insults to describe left-handedness. Some of the terms are common and obvious in meaning (such as “sinister”), but you will be less familiar with some of these examples. Where possible, the language of origin and meaning of the words have been indicated. Terms describing Left-handedness:

  1. bongo (Romany; meaning crooked or evil)
  2. cack-handed (British English; meaning excrement-handed, from the Muslim tradition of using the left hand to clean oneself and the right for activities such as eating)
  3. canhoto (Portuguese; weak and mischievous)
  4. gauche (French; awkward, clumsy)
  5. gawk-handed (Scottish English; where a “gawk” is a foolish person)
  6. kejthandet (Danish; cat-handed)
  7. mancini (Italian; crooked)
  8. molly-dooker (Australian English; where a “molly” is an effeminate man and “duke” is slang for hand)
  9. zurdo (Spanish; where “azurdas” means to go in the wrong direction)
  10. The English have a particular flair for describing left-handedness, and therefore deserve their own section:
  11. back-handed
  12. bang-handed
  13. clickey-handed
  14. coochy-handed
  15. cow-pawed
  16. dollock-handed
  17. gammy-handed
  18. kay-fisted
  19. Kerr-handed
  20. kitty-wesy
  21. scoochy-handed
  22. scrammy
  23. skiffle-handed
  24. skivvy-handed
  25. watty-handed


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