am·​bi·​dex·​trous ˌam-bi-ˈdek-strəs How to pronounce ambidextrous (audio)
: using both hands with equal ease or dexterity
an ambidextrous pitcher
Guatelli says the master was ambidextrous, that he sketched with his right hand while he wrote with his left—simultaneously.John P. Wiley, Jr.
soccer : using both feet with equal ease : two-footed
When Zinger played the Ghosts in the regular season, he kicked with his right foot. This time, the ambidextrous soccer player went with his left.Lianne Elliott
: designed or suitable for use by the left or right hand
With two firing buttons, it's the first ambidextrous joystick—just as comfortable for lefties as righties.Popular Computing
: unusually skillful : versatile
He is completely ambidextrous, that is to say, completely able to express himself in verse or proseT. S. Eliot
: characterized by duplicity : double-dealing
He was unordained, uneducated, and theologically so ambidextrous that he could be either Lutheran or Reformed as the situation required.G. H. Genzmer
ambidextrously adverb

Did you know?

Latin dexter originally meant "related to or situated on the right side," but since most people do things better with the right hand, dexter developed the sense of "skillful" (as demonstrated by our word dexterous). In 1646, English physician and author Sir Thomas Browne combined dexter with the Latin prefix ambi- (meaning "both") to form ambidextrous: "Some are ... ambidextrous or right-handed on both sides," he wrote. The word can also describe the kind of mental agility demonstrated by one with multiple diverse talents, such as the ambidextrous leader who successfully works with a diverse team to meet goals.

Examples of ambidextrous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Where Spence is a southpaw, Crawford is an ambidextrous fighter who prefers the southpaw stance. Morgan Campbell, New York Times, 28 July 2023 Amazon reviewers with different hand sizes, grip types, and dominant hands praised the mouse for its comfortable ambidextrous design. Harry Rabinowitz, Popular Mechanics, 8 Dec. 2022 The rifle has magazine releases on both sides of the bottom metal for ambidextrous operation. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, 24 Apr. 2023 Another plus was this dryer’s ambidextrous buttons, which are centrally located and easy for right-handed and left-handed people to access without accidentally switching the settings. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 26 May 2023 This thrower is completely ambidextrous, too, so right left-handers alike can use it. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 24 May 2023 At Nippert Stadium a lanky ambidextrous punter whose home is over 21 hours away hangs with another young man who often views him upside down and a third whose claim to fame began as a joke. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 8 Apr. 2023 Plus, its design is ambidextrous. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, 17 May 2022 NFTs can be ambidextrous at the moment. Naveen Joshi, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ambidextrous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin ambidexter "using both hands with equal ease" (from Latin ambi- ambi- + dexter "on the right-hand side, propitious, skillful") + -ous — more at dexter

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of ambidextrous was in 1646


Dictionary Entries Near ambidextrous

Cite this Entry

“Ambidextrous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


am·​bi·​dex·​trous ˌam-bi-ˈdek-strəs How to pronounce ambidextrous (audio)
: using both hands with equal ease
ambidextrously adverb

Medical Definition


am·​bi·​dex·​trous ˌam-bi-ˈdek-strəs How to pronounce ambidextrous (audio)
: capable of using both hands with equal ease
ambidextrously adverb

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