\ ˈleft How to pronounce left (audio) \

Definition of left

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, situated on, or being the side of the body in which the heart is mostly located her left leg
b : done with the left hand a left hook to the jaw
c : located nearer to the left hand than to the right a man's left chest
d(1) : located on the left of an observer facing in the same direction as the object specified stage left the left arm of a chair
(2) : located on the left when facing downstream the left bank of a river
2 often capitalized : of, adhering to, or constituted by the left especially in politics this left government with a cabinet of moderate liberals— F. A. Magruder



Definition of left (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : the left hand
b : the location or direction of the left side
c : the part on the left side
d : a turn to the left take a left at the intersection
2a : left field
b : a blow struck with the left fist

3 often capitalized

a : the part of a legislative chamber located to the left of the presiding officer
b : the members of a continental European legislative body occupying the left as a result of holding more radical political views than other members

4 often capitalized

a : those professing views usually characterized by desire to reform or overthrow the established order especially in politics and usually advocating change in the name of the greater freedom or well-being of the common man
b : a radical as distinguished from a conservative position


Definition of left (Entry 3 of 3)

past tense and past participle of leave

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Other Words from left


left adverb


leftmost \ ˈleft-​ˌmōst How to pronounce leftmost (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for left

Synonyms: Noun

left wing, leftism, liberalism

Antonyms: Noun

conservatism, illiberalism, immobilism, right

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Examples of left in a Sentence


He felt a pain in his left side. He hit him with a left hook to the jaw. the left side of the street


We read from left to right. You'll take two lefts and then a right. He hit him with two quick lefts to the stomach followed by a right to the jaw.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Robin is the rare left-wing observer who takes Thomas’s political and legal mind seriously. Theodore Kupfer, National Review, "The Not So Enigmatic Clarence Thomas," 22 Aug. 2019 Their argument, in a nutshell: —A fuzzy commitment to multiple stakeholders could undermine financial discipline; and —The move won’t appease left-wing politicians like Elizabeth Warren. David Meyer, Fortune, "End of Shareholder Primacy, Part III: CEO Daily," 21 Aug. 2019 Some of the downtown’s largest retailers —from Starbucks to Nordstrom to the Portland Apple Store — closed in anticipation of right- and left-wing groups converging on the waterfront. oregonlive.com, "Portland’s Proud Boys, antifa protests cost downtown biz $3M, group says," 21 Aug. 2019 THE ODD COUPLE Earlier this month, the League failed to win support in the Senate for a confidence motion against Conte when the 5-Stars joined forces with the opposition Democratic Party and smaller left-wing groups to block it. Washington Post, "What to expect as Italy’s looks to a new government," 20 Aug. 2019 For many years, he was institutionally embattled, at least partly because of his left-wing politics. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity," 19 Aug. 2019 Police saw bruises, swelling, and redness around the woman’s ears and bruises on the left side of her neck that appeared to be from the pressure of three fingers, according to the statement. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Hampstead man charged with assault for allegedly choking woman," 19 Aug. 2019 Putting aside any pretense toward nuance or complexity, the paper has surrendered to the sensibility of left-wing political activists. J. Brian Charles, Vox, "What the conservative critics of the New York Times’s 1619 Project miss.," 18 Aug. 2019 The payoff came when Watson threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins on the left side. John Mcclain, Houston Chronicle, "Texans take down Lions in preseason game," 17 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Daniel Levy wants to get rid of Christian Eriksen before the end of European transfer window, with the Dane only having a year left on his contract. SI.com, "Daniel Levy Still Intent on Selling Christian Eriksen Before the End of European Window," 9 Aug. 2019 The activists have helped shift the Democratic center of gravity further to the left on climate. New York Times, "Progressive Activists Have Pushed Democrats to the Left on Climate Issues. Now What?," 4 Aug. 2019 If the first Democratic debates in Miami were defined by the candidates veering to the left on health care and immigration, the first hour of tonight’s debate in Detroit has highlighted how the pragmatic middle has fought back. NBC News, "The pragmatists strike back," 31 July 2019 The Giants could option Green, use Panik as a left-hander off the bench and have Solano back up Pablo Sandoval at third until Evan Longoria returns. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Joe Panik’s role in limbo after Giants acquire second baseman Scooter Gennett," 31 July 2019 That means that pulling to the left on an object is not the same as pulling to the right. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "An Electric Pickup Truck Really Could Pull a Freight Train—Here's How," 30 July 2019 Kline, 29, was waived last March by Tennessee with a year left on his contract. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Guard Josh Kline has one Super Bowl ring and hopes to add another with Vikings," 30 July 2019 Up next: Still has a year left of high school, but would like to run at a school that challenges him both academically and athletically. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "2019 All-Courant boys outdoor track athlete of the year: Robbie Cozean, Xavier," 10 July 2019 Ryu, a 32-year-old left-hander from South Korea, is 10-2 with a major league-leading 1.73 ERA for the NL champion Dodgers. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "What time, TV channel is 2019 MLB All-Star Game? (7/9/19) lineups, live stream," 9 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'left.' 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 left


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for left

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Old English, weak; akin to Middle Low German lucht left; from the left hand's being the weaker in most individuals

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Statistics for left

Last Updated

25 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for left

The first known use of left was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for left



English Language Learners Definition of left

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: located on the same side of your body as your heart
: done with your left hand
: located nearer to the left side of your body than to the right



English Language Learners Definition of left (Entry 2 of 2)

: a location closer to the left side of your body than to the right : the left side
: a turn or movement toward the left
: a punch made with the left hand


\ ˈleft How to pronounce left (audio) \

Kids Definition of left

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : located on the same side of the body as the heart the left leg
2 : located nearer to the left side of the body than to the right the left side of the road

Other Words from left

left adverb Take one step left.



Kids Definition of left (Entry 2 of 3)

: the left side : a part or location on or toward the left side Read from left to right.


Kids Definition of left (Entry 3 of 3)

past tense and past participle of leave


\ ˈleft How to pronounce left (audio) \

Medical Definition of left

: of, relating to, or being the side of the body in which the heart is mostly located also : located nearer to this side than to the right

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More from Merriam-Webster on left

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with left

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for left

Spanish Central: Translation of left

Nglish: Translation of left for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of left for Arabic Speakers

Comments on left

What made you want to look up left? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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