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 Lefties and compulsive tweakers will appreciate the Impulse’s ambidextrous controls and ability to transition the bolt handle to either side of the receiver and to alter the angle of the handle. Derek Mcdonald, Outdoor Life, "Field Test: The New Straight-Pull Savage Impulse Rifle," 5 Jan. 2021 Most mice are created for right-handed players, but there are a number of excellent mice out there that have created ambidextrous programmable options like the Glorious Model O or Mira-M from HK Gaming. Carsen Joenk, Popular Science, "Best gaming mouse: What to look for when buying this accessory," 11 Dec. 2020 It’s also ambidextrous — something most ergonomic mice can't claim. Whitson Gordon, NBC News, "Best mouse 2020: 5 best mice for gaming, working and more," 10 Dec. 2020 Talon ambidextrous safety selector in all my rifles. Chris Mudgett, Outdoor Life, "The Best Aftermarket Modifications to Make to Your AR-15," 19 Nov. 2020 Only three of the 73 birds filmed more than once were ambidextrous, turning in both directions. Erica Tennenhouse, Science | AAAS, "Watch rare shorebirds engage in a synchronized water dance," 12 Nov. 2020 Quick off his feet and athletic, Okongwu can be dangerous lob threat who can also abuse switches with ambidextrous jump hooks while evolving into the modern-day big with a perimeter toolkit to complement his inside prowess. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers' five best options with No. 5 pick in 2020 NBA Draft: Chris Fedor," 30 Oct. 2020 The rifle is completely ambidextrous and the magazine can be fitted from either the right or left side. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "8 Big-Bore Airguns That Are Powerful Enough to Take Big Game," 21 Aug. 2020 The Scout wears an ambidextrous stock and is available with a fluted stainless-steel or blued barrel, and is topped off with a rail to mount optics. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "The 9 Best Single-Shot Rifles and Shotguns for Any Budget," 14 Aug. 2020

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

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Time Traveler for ambidextrous

Time Traveler

The first known use of ambidextrous was in 1646

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ambidextrous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on ambidextrous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ambidextrous

Nglish: Translation of ambidextrous for Spanish Speakers

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