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

Definition of southpaw

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

With his new organization, the southpaw earned an invite to the 2011 All-Star Futures Game and participated in the event the following year as well. 2. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "5 things to know about late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs," 1 July 2019 Watson, a big-hitting lefty who also won the Travelers Championship in 2010 and 2015, joins Phil Mickelson, a southpaw who is returning to the event for the first time since 2002, as left-handed players who have multiple wins in Cromwell. Kevin Vellturo,, "Does the Travelers Championship course set up better for left-handed players?," 14 June 2019 In an era where pitchers shoulder less and less of the load, the bearded southpaw remains one of the few starters who can both carry a heavy workload and go deep into a game, night in and night out. Jon Tayler,, "Race Against the Clock: Did the Braves Wait Too Long to Sign Dallas Keuchel?," 6 June 2019 Crosby trotted out a southpaw who wasn’t much taller than four feet maybe in his bare feet. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park Mustang all-stars clinch berth to Coast Region the hard way," 30 June 2018 Opening day starter Kyle Freeland got demoted to Triple-A, and fellow southpaw Tyler Anderson underwent knee surgery and appears unlikely to return in 2019. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman: To get back to the postseason, Rockies need to trade for a proven starting pitcher. Here’s the arms they should target.," 18 June 2019 Facing a lefthanded starting pitcher for the first time as a major leaguer, Álvarez crushed Toronto southpaw Clayton Richard's hanging slider in the fourth inning, drilling the 0-2 offering into the second deck of the right-field seats. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Jack Mayfield, Yordan Álvarez spark Astros over Blue Jays," 15 June 2019 Righthanded pitcher Natalie Florschutz and southpaw McKenna Sherman have excelled in the circle, combining for 53 strikeouts and one no-hitter. Mike Owens,, "Hot bats have Coatesville softball off to hot start," 20 Apr. 2018 The left-handed hitter had three at-bats, including a walk and pop fly off a southpaw. Mark Didtler, The Seattle Times, "Yankees’ Tulowitzki hits in first simulated game," 20 Feb. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of southpaw

1871, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about southpaw

Listen to Our Podcast about southpaw

Statistics for southpaw

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for southpaw

The first known use of southpaw was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with southpaw

Nglish: Translation of southpaw for Spanish Speakers

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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