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

Definition of southpaw

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

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Other Words from southpaw

southpaw adjective

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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 junior southpaw will now get a chance to throw the opening pitch of a regional. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 31 May 2021 The feat was Dombkowski’s best yet in a Hawks uniform, but the southpaw from West Springfield, Massachusetts has been a stalwart for Hartford since his first season. Shawn Mcfarland,, 13 May 2021 The fighters had previously agreed to dimensions of 20 feet, but Saunders, an elusive southpaw who entered Saturday’s match undefeated, figured the extra space would benefit him. New York Times, 9 May 2021 Coming off a competitive loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko, the 33-year-old Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) presents the prototypical crossroads clash for Garcia with his vast experience, tactical prowess and southpaw style. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, 1 Jan. 2021 Although Tuesday’s outing may not have been his best, the 6-foot-2 southpaw has been very much a high-level ace for the Blue Devils (12-2) all year. Shawn Mcfarland,, 11 May 2021 But the British southpaw will have to maintain that for all 12 rounds. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 8 May 2021 The junior southpaw didn’t last three innings in any of her appearances against Washington and has given up at least three runs in five of her last seven appearances. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 23 Apr. 2021 The southpaw from Baltimore is coming off an impressive sixth-round KO of former four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz in the main event of a card at the Alamodome on Halloween Night. John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News, 22 Apr. 2021

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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The first known use of southpaw was in 1871

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Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Southpaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for southpaw



English Language Learners Definition of southpaw

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


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


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