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

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 The design is ambidextrous, with side buttons on both sides. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Logitech’s new mouse packs gaming prowess in a workplace-friendly design," 22 Aug. 2018 Microsoft also disclosed details of the new, updated wireless Surface Mobile Mouse, the ambidextrous accompaniment to the Surface Go. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's $399, 10-inch Surface Go rethinks the Windows tablet for consumers," 9 July 2018 To use a term that is much favored by the company’s leaders and by management gurus, GM must be ambidextrous. Rick Tetzeli, Fortune, "GM Gets Ready for a Post-Car Future," 23 May 2018 Others: Qwuantrezz Knight, Deon Jones KICKER Joseph Petrino: For a team that has struggled with long field-goal attempts and kickoffs, ambidextrous freshman could be a godsend. Don Markus,, "Projecting the Maryland football team's depth chart after spring game," 20 Apr. 2018 Chris Hanson, New England’s punter from 2007-09, was the rare ambidextrous specialist who in high school and college place-kicked with his right leg and punted with his left leg. Jenny Vrentas,, "Punting Takes a Left Turn," 11 Jan. 2018 This is a type of musical multitasking that’s only capable of someone as ambidextrous as Beck. Matt Miller, Esquire, "Beck's New Album Is Perfect for a Really Weird Car Commercial," 13 Oct. 2017

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

The first known use of ambidextrous was in 1646

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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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