ambidextrous

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From ambi- +‎ Latin dexter (right) + -ous (as if both hands are like the right hand, which is the stronger hand in most people).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

ambidextrous (comparative more ambidextrous, superlative most ambidextrous)

  1. Having equal ability in both hands; in particular, able to write equally well with both hands.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Thomas Browne to this entry?)
  2. Equally usable by left-handed and right-handed people (as a tool or instrument).
  3. (archaic) Practising or siding with both parties.
    • (Can we date this quote?) L'Estrange
      All false, shuffling, and ambidextrous dealings.
  4. (humorous) Of a person, bisexual.
  5. Exceptionally skillful; adept in more than one medium, genre, style, etc.
    Michelangelo was a very ambidextrous artist, producing sculptures and frescoes with equal ability.
    • 1884, The British Trade Journal and Export World, page 558
      For years, by every possible device, we have been raising the prices of our agricultural products against the foreign buyers [] by every device known to the ambidextrous tradesman and financier. The result is that we have raised up other and unexpected competitors in the markets of the world.
    • 1998, Alan Spiegel, James Agee and the Legend of Himself: A Critical Study, University of Missouri Press (→ISBN), page 12
      In a footnote, these admirers will often bemoan Agee as a Renaissance or at least ambidextrous artist in an age of specialization, a vast and turbulent ocean syphoned off through a garden hose; not just a novelist manque but also a frustrated []
    • 2014, Pamela Lillian Valemont, Beauty Queen Murder - Allison Baden-Clay, Lulu.com (→ISBN), page 49
      He also played the piano and violin, was an ambidextrous artist, and enjoyed acting. Holidays were spent yachting or canoeing or with his brothers. By 1903, Baden-Powell's military training manual, Aids to Scouting, had become a best-seller, []

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