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See also: lëft


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English left, luft, leoft, lift, lyft, from Old English left, lyft (weak, clumsy, foolish), attested in Old English lyftādl (palsy, paralysis). Compare Scots left (left), North Frisian lefts, leeft, leefts (left), West Frisian lofts (left), dialectal Dutch loof (weak, worthless), Low German lucht (left).


  • IPA(key): /lɛft/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛft


left (comparative more left or lefter, superlative most left or leftmost)

  1. The opposite of right; toward the west when one is facing north.
    Synonyms: sinister, sinistral
    Antonyms: right, dexter, dextral
    The left side.
  2. (politics) Pertaining to the political left.
    Antonym: right
The fruit to the viewer's left is smaller.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]


left (not comparable)

  1. On the left side.
    Antonym: right
  2. Towards the left side.
    Antonym: right
    Turn left at the corner.
  3. Towards the political left.
    Antonym: right
    The East Coast of the US leans left in elections.


left (plural lefts)

  1. The left side or direction.
    Synonyms: 9 o'clock, port
  2. (politics) The ensemble of left-wing political parties. Those holding left-wing views as a group.
    The political left is holding too much power.
  3. (boxing) A punch delivered with the left fist.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English left, variant of laft (remaining, left), from Old English lǣfd, ġelǣfd, past participle of lǣfan (to leave). More at leave.



  1. simple past tense and past participle of leave (depart, separate from; (cause or allow to) remain).
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Afore we got to the shanty Colonel Applegate stuck his head out of the door. His temper had been getting raggeder all the time, and the sousing he got when he fell overboard had just about ripped what was left of it to ravellings.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English levit, ilevet, y-levyd, from Old English ġelȳfd, ġelȳfed, past participle of Old English ġelȳfan, lȳfan (to allow, permit), equivalent to leave (to give leave to, allow, grant, permit) +‎ -ed.



  1. simple past tense and past participle of leave (permit).
    We were not left go to the beach after school except on a weekend.


  • The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, Walter W. Skeat.