south·paw | \ˈsau̇th-ˌpȯ \

Definition of southpaw 

: left-hander especially : a left-handed baseball pitcher

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Other Words from southpaw

southpaw adjective

Did You Know?

Southpaw is of obscure origin. A popular theory holds that it comes from the onetime position of ballparks in relation to the sun. Supposedly, late 19th-century ballparks were laid out so that the pitcher looked in a westerly direction when facing the batter. The throwing arm of a left-handed pitcher would then be to the south-hence the name southpaw. This theory of its origin is undermined, however, by the fact that the original use of southpaw does not involve baseball at all. Rather, the term was used as early as 1848 to describe, simply, the left hand or a punch or blow given with the left hand. Today, we often use southpaw as a good-natured term for a left-handed person, but the word is sometimes viewed as stigmatizing by left-handed people.

Examples of southpaw in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

After getting called up to the Orioles alongside Ryan Meisinger on June 29, the southpaw allowed no runs over his first 4 1/3 innings before his start was marred slightly by four runs (one earned) during Sunday’s 10-1 loss at the Minnesota Twins. Katherine Fominykh,, "Improved left-hander Paul Fry taking advantage of opportunity with Orioles," 11 July 2018 The 6-foot, 215-pound senior, an ace southpaw and first baseman, made the latter a reality. Rick O'brien,, "Rick O'Brien's 2018 all-Southeastern Pennsylvania baseball team," 16 June 2018 Zimmerman, an ace southpaw who pitched 6 2/3 innings before moving to first base, plated Sean Donnell (one-out single to left field) with his 38th hit of the season. Rick O'brien,, "Marple Newtown captures state baseball title with 10-inning victory," 15 June 2018 Opponents have ambushed the southpaw for 13 earned runs in the first inning of games this season. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Dallas Keuchel struggles in Astros' loss to Mariners," 5 June 2018 The Yard Goats' southpaw lasted two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs on five hits with one walk. Staff Report,, "Tendler's Pinch-Hit Homer In 9th Lifts Sea Dogs Past Yard Goats," 4 July 2018 The southpaw struck out the side in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Rick O'brien,, "Joe LaFiora hurls Neumann-Goretti past Dock Mennonite in state baseball opener," 5 June 2018 The southpaw gave up two unearned runs in a messy first inning, but settled down to throw six scoreless frames with eight strikeouts. Nate Weitzer,, "Nate Espelin helps Belmont avenge baseball loss to Lexington," 12 May 2018 After dropping 11 of 16 against left-handers, the Giants raced out to an early lead against Cubs southpaw Mike Montgomery thanks to the first career leadoff home run of Chase d’Arnaud’s career. Kerry Crowley, sacbee, "Buster Posey has hip pain, but he has Giants feeling good in walkoff win over Cubs," 11 July 2018

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

1871, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for southpaw

The first known use of southpaw was in 1871

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More Definitions for southpaw



English Language Learners Definition of southpaw

: someone who is left-handed; especially : a left-handed baseball pitcher or boxer


south·paw | \ˈsau̇th-ˌpȯ \

Kids Definition of southpaw

: a person (as a baseball pitcher) who is left-handed

Comments on southpaw

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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