am·​bi·​dex·​trous | \ ˌam-bi-ˈdek-strəs How to pronounce ambidextrous (audio) \

Definition of ambidextrous

1a : 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.
b 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
2 : 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
3 : unusually skillful : versatile He is completely ambidextrous, that is to say, completely able to express himself in verse or prose— T. S. Eliot
4 : 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

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Other Words from ambidextrous

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") in the first documented use of "ambidextrous": "Some are . . . ambidextrous or right-handed on both sides." The word can now describe the kind of physical or mental agility demonstrated by one with multiple diverse talents.

Examples of ambidextrous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And the whole design is ambidextrous, so lefties aren’t left out in the dark. Jeff Dunn And Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Nine gift ideas for the tech enthusiast in your life," 13 Dec. 2019 Unlike some of its competitors, the Lancehead is designed with an ambidextrous chassis that easily fits in your right or left hand. Jess Grey, WIRED, "The Best Mouse for Every Kind of Gamer," 17 Aug. 2019 The Viper molds well to my hand, and its ambidextrous design accommodates both left- and right-handed people with two macro buttons on each of its sides. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Razer’s new Viper is a light and fast ambidextrous wired gaming mouse," 2 Aug. 2019 Alexander-Walker is naturally left-handed, but shoots jumpers with his right, making him something of an ambidextrous finisher and augmenting his ability to use angles as a precise passer of the ball. Jeremy Woo,, "Top 10 Rookie Takeaways From NBA Summer League," 16 July 2019 His superior passing vision, ambidextrous touch, explosiveness and change of direction are hard to oversell. Jenna West,, "2019 NBA Draft Grades: Grizzlies Select Ja Morant with No. 2 Pick," 20 June 2019 Groups that started out more ambidextrous developed a range of preferences for left and right. Quanta Magazine, "Animal Copies Reveal Roots of Individuality," 12 May 2015 The controls are fully ambidextrous, with left and right-sided safeties, magazine release, and bolt release controls. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Army Selects New Submachine Gun," 2 Apr. 2019 Good news for Southpaws: The Ouroboros is also ambidextrous. Jaime Netzer, Popular Mechanics, "Reviewed: Razer Ouroboros Gaming Mouse," 25 June 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ambidextrous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ambidextrous

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ambidextrous

Late Latin ambidexter, from Latin ambi- + dexter right-hand — more at dexter

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Time Traveler for ambidextrous

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The first known use of ambidextrous was in 1646

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Last Updated

3 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ambidextrous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for ambidextrous


am·​bi·​dex·​trous | \ ˌam-bi-ˈdek-strəs How to pronounce ambidextrous (audio) \

Kids Definition of ambidextrous

: using both hands with equal ease an ambidextrous basketball player

Other Words from ambidextrous

ambidextrously adverb


am·​bi·​dex·​trous | \ ˌam-bi-ˈdek-strəs How to pronounce ambidextrous (audio) \

Medical Definition of ambidextrous

: capable of using both hands with equal ease

Other Words from ambidextrous

ambidextrously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ambidextrous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ambidextrous

Spanish Central: Translation of ambidextrous

Nglish: Translation of ambidextrous for Spanish Speakers

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