a: the part of a legislative chamber located to the left of the presiding officer
b: the members of a continental European legislative body occupying the left as a result of holding more radical political views than other members
a: those professing views usually characterized by desire to reform or overthrow the established order especially in politics and usually advocating change in the name of the greater freedom or well-being of the common man
b: a radical as distinguished from a conservative position
: of, relating to, or being the side of the body in which the heart is mostly located; also: located nearer to this side than to the right
In politics, the portion of the political spectrum associated in general with egalitarianism and popular or state control of the major institutions of political and economic life. The term dates from the 1790s, when in the French revolutionary parliament the socialist representatives sat to the presiding officer's left. Leftists tend to be hostile to the interests of traditional elites, including the wealthy and members of the aristocracy, and to favour the interests of the working class (seeproletariat). They tend to regard social welfare as the most important goal of government. Socialism is the standard leftist ideology in most countries of the world; communism is a more radical leftist ideology.