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


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌæm.biˈdɛk.stɹəs/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæm.bɪˈdɛk.stɹəs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛkstɹəs


ambidextrous (comparative more ambidextrous, superlative most ambidextrous)

  1. Having equal ability in both hands; in particular, able to write equally well with both hands.
    • 1650, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], 2nd edition, London: [] A[braham] Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, [], →OCLC:
      Some are [] ambidextrous or right-handed on both sides; which happeneth only unto strong and athletical bodies, whose heat and spirits are able to afford an ability unto both.
  2. Equally usable by left-handed and right-handed people (as a tool or instrument).
  3. (archaic) Practising or siding with both parties.
  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,, →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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