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 9780826211828), 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 9781312286771), 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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