Terms for left-handed people

Interesting article in the Oxford Dictionaries Blog on terms for left-handers:

  • Sinister

    Used to refer to something of, on, or towards the left-hand side of the body (and is Latin for left). It also gave rise to the rather uncomplimentary adjective sinistrous: left-handed, slow.

  • Mollydooker

    1940s Australian slang term for someone left-handed. Molly being a pet form of Mary, Dooker most likely comes from duke, a slang term for fists (especially raised for fighting).

  • Katy-handed and Kay-nieved

    From the English counties Cheshire and Lancashire, kay-nieved comes from the Danish keite, ‘left’, and the early Scandinavian nieve (a clenched hand or fist; the hand used to grip a sword or an oar).

  • Southpaw

    In baseball, a southpaw is a left-handed pitcher. This comes from the orientation of the diamond to the same points of the compass, causing the pitcher to have his left hand on the south side of his body. Also used for a left-handed boxer who leads with their right hand.

  • Goofy footed

    Surfing with your right foot forward instead of your left (also skateboarding).

  • Cuddy wifter

    From the North East of England, origin unknown. (also used in the East End  of London and was allocated to LHC organiser Keith as his golf tour nickname!).

See the full article here:

See our full article on Left Handed Language

Posted in Being left-handed

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14 comments on “Terms for left-handed people
  1. Mike Osborne says:

    I’ve been called cack handed all my life I’m a Bristol boy now 57. Cheers.

  2. Tom Wildy says:

    In the UK ‘crack-handed’ is often used, derived from the assumption that the arse is wiped with the left hand.

  3. Tom Wildy says:


  4. Roy Capenos says:

    I want to discover a physician who specializes in the treatment of chronic tendonitis that some lefties (I’m one of them) experience because of how they position their arms to handwrite, that is, curling or hooking their left forearms and hands so they can see the words they are writing as they push their pens or pencils across the page. Perhaps my crab-claw style of writing is the result of years of writing on classroom desks designed for right-handers; their entire right arms were supported on standard desktops, whereas, we lefties had virtually no arm support on standard desks. Rarely could I find a left-handed desk, in high school or college. It’s true: Even in 2023, we lefties continually have to adjust to a right-handed world.

    • Sofia Gustafsson says:

      When I was in college, I would use two side-by-side seats in a lecture hall — one for sitting, on the right, and one for writing, on the left. I figured if they couldn’t provide left-handed seats I would make my own. We are right-brained, which is the creative side, so it made perfect sense to me.

  5. Roy Capenos says:

    Being a Lefty — particularly in handwriting and fine motor- control tasks — has caused me to be partly ambidextrous, which spares me from the problems that plague some Lefties who have great difficulty in learning to do some things right-handed. I am a drummer, so my moderate degree of ambidexterity improves my technique. Like my fellow drummer left-handed Ringo Starr, I play a standard kit, i.e., one designed for right-handed drummers. Ringo jokingly calls this method of playing “left-handed right-hand drumming”. But hey, man, he and I (and a small number of our fellow lefty drummers) are proof that this way of playing can be accomplished.

    • Tom Wildy says:

      I’m cross-lateral: left-handed and right eyed. I’m also (probably as a result of this) clumsy. I’m big (6’4”) which means I’m quite likely to knock things over.

      Over the years I’ve developed some creeping-round techniques, but find I can’t use a standard wine glass withou knocking it over.

      But I’ve broken lots of things….

  6. Onwuka Laurina says:

    I am a left handed

  7. Linus wahome says:


  8. Matt says:

    Goofy footed…also Snowboarding…really any type of boarding that uses these terms.

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