Dangerous Lefties

One perk of my present job is sitting in on lessons in subjects I have never before had the chance to be interested in.  Today was Latin.  Here's what I learned:

                                              'left' = sinister
                                              'right' = dexter

It's fascinating how, until relatively recently, left-handed people have always been regarded as 'bad' or 'wrong' or 'just not right', hence the resulting use of these Latin roots to give English words like 'sinister' and 'dextrous'.  Similarly, in French, gauche transfers to English to mean 'inept, clumsy, maladroit; coarse, gross, uncouth', whilst droit gives us adroit, meaning 'skillful, clever; deft, apt, adept'.  Lefties are clumsy and dangerous, right-handers function deftly and with skill, especially in golf.

A step further: what do you call someone who can use both hands?  Ambidextrous – 'all right'.  Not all left.  "How are you doing?"  "I'm alright, thank you – I once was left but now I'm right."  "That's handy."  Indeed.


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