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 English Language Learners
Definition of ambidextrous for English Language Learners
: able to use both hands equally well
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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