Posted by: episystechpubs | August 13, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Left

I wish a Happy Left-Handers Day to those of you with special southpaw talents. I was raised Catholic and I know the Catholic Church frowned upon left-handedness as evil, and judging from the translations below, they weren’t the only ones.

The following list was compiled by Eileen Kreckman, with one addition from me. (Thanks, Eileen!)

The English word “left” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, implying “weak or broken.” In Scotland, they have a saying about unlucky people: He must have been baptized by a left-handed priest.

Language Word Meaning
Estonian pahem left, worse
French gauche left, socially awkward
German linkisch left-handed, clumsy
Greek aristeros left, left-hand, sinister
Hungarian bal left, bad
Italian mancino left, deceitful
Latin sinister left, evil
Russian levja left-handed, also a term of insult
Sanscrit waama left, wicked

In most Indo-European languages, the word denoting the right side means “correct.”

Kara Church

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