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 : 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
ambidextrous was our Word of the Day on 04/02/2013. Hear the podcast!
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.
Origin and Etymology of ambidextrous
Late Latin ambidexter, from Latin ambi- + dexter right-hand — more at dexter
First Known Use: 1646
AMBIDEXTROUS Defined for Kids
Definition of ambidextrous for Students
: using both hands with equal ease an ambidextrous basketball player
Medical Definition of ambidextrous
: capable of using both hands with equal ease
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