Definition of southpaw
: left-hander; especially : a left-handed baseball pitcher
southpaw was our Word of the Day on 08/01/2014. Hear the podcast!
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.
First Known Use of southpaw
SOUTHPAW Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of southpaw for English Language Learners
: someone who is left-handed; especially : a left-handed baseball pitcher or boxer
SOUTHPAW Defined for Kids
Definition of southpaw for Students
: a person (as a baseball pitcher) who is left-handed
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up southpaw? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).