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

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 SP Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins: The southpaw tossed 12 2/3 scoreless frames over his last two starts. Lawr Michaels, USA TODAY, "Fantasy baseball sizzlers, fizzlers: Yankees' Domingo German rises to occasion," 8 May 2018 With their lead cut to one and the Reds' best hitter, lefty-swinging Joey Votto, due up, Francona trotted to the mound to bring in southpaw Oliver Perez. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Indians' bizarre bullpen gaffe leads to epic Reds comeback in ninth," 10 July 2018 Alvarado, a southpaw, took the mound for the Rays in the top of the ninth inning, only to walk Bryce Harper. Jenna West,, "Rays Pitcher Ends Up Playing First Base in Strange Postion Shuffle," 26 June 2018 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

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

1 Apr 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).


something valued as if it were money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!