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Borrowed from Medieval Latin ambidexter, from Latin ambi- + dexter.



ambidexter (plural ambidexters)

  1. Someone who is ambidextrous.
  2. (archaic) A lawyer who takes fees from both plaintiff and defendant.
    • 1891, Herman Melville, Billy Budd
      But the thing which in eminent instances signalizes so exceptional a nature is this: though the man's even temper and discreet bearing would seem to intimate a mind peculiarly subject to the law of reason, not the less in his heart he would seem to riot in complete exemption from that law, having apparently little to do with reason further than to employ it as an ambidexter implement for effecting the irrational.
  3. (by extension) Someone who is two-faced; a double-dealer.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy, 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , New York Review of Books, 2001, p.65:
      One takes upon him temperence, holiness […], whenas indeed he, and he, and he, and the rest are hypocrites, ambidexters, outsides, so many turning pictures, a lion on one side, a lamb on the other.


ambidexter (not comparable)

  1. ambidextrous
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Smollett to this entry?)

See also[edit]





ambidexter (used only predicatively, comparative meer ambidexter, superlative meest ambidexter)

  1. ambidexter