dex·​tral ˈdek-strəl How to pronounce dextral (audio)
: of or relating to the right : inclined to the right: such as
of a gastropod shell : having the whorls coiling clockwise down the spire when viewed with the apex toward the observer and having the aperture situated on the right of the axis when held with the spire uppermost and with the aperture opening toward the observer compare sinistral

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The majority of snails are dextral, but sinistral forms have evolved time and time again. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2010 Dextral snails are in the majority, so a dextral snail would have a far larger supply of mates than a sinistral one. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 7 Dec. 2010 There was one exception — when coauthor and citizen scientist Philippe Thomas mated second-generation dextral offspring of French sinistral garden snails. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 2 June 2020 Six of 32 dextral snails produced 17 sinistral offspring out of 6,302 total offspring. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 2 June 2020

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

Word History

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dextral was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near dextral

Cite this Entry

“Dextral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
dex·​tral ˈdek-strəl How to pronounce dextral (audio)
: of or relating to the right
especially : right-handed
dextrally adverb


2 of 2 noun
: a person exhibiting dominance of the right hand and eye
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?