south·​paw | \ ˈsau̇th-ˌpȯ How to pronounce southpaw (audio) \

Definition of southpaw

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

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 The southpaw won 283 games in his 25-year career from 1959-83, which included stints with the Senators, Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals. Katie Mcinerney,, 24 July 2022 Marmol responded by removing right-handed reliever Junior Fernández, who had failed to record an out in the inning, in favor of Naughton, a southpaw the Cardinals claimed off waivers from the Angels this spring. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2022 After shrugging off Whyte’s attempt to confuse him by turning southpaw in the first round, Fury relied on his smarts, movement and activity to deflate the challenger as Whyte averaged less than five landed punches per round. Lance Pugmire, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2022 In April, the 30-year old southpaw made his ESPN debut with a seven-round knockout — the 16th KO of his pro career — of Jeovanis Barraza in Costa Mesa. Ivan Carter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 July 2022 The southpaw ducked and managed to get his glove on the ball, deflecting it to second baseman Kevin Newman for a groundout to finish the inning. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 5 July 2022 Harrison, in a southpaw stance, crept forward, feinting and gauging Young’s reactions. New York Times, 2 July 2022 But when the southpaw walked Wander Franco and surrendered a single to Yandy Diaz, that’s when Cora called on Garrett Richards, who has thrived in his role as a reliever., 2 Sep. 2021 From his southpaw stance, Pacquiao had some success in the early rounds countering over Ugas’ left jab. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 22 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of southpaw

1871, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About southpaw

Time Traveler for southpaw

Time Traveler

The first known use of southpaw was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About southpaw

Dictionary Entries Near southpaw

South Pass


South Platte

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for southpaw

Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Southpaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for southpaw


south·​paw | \ ˈsau̇th-ˌpȯ How to pronounce southpaw (audio) \

Kids Definition of southpaw

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

More from Merriam-Webster on southpaw

Nglish: Translation of southpaw for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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