Lefthanders

hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Sat Apr 23 10:55:05 EDT 2005


Minnow:
To add to the South-Paws' disgruntlement, in 1425 or thenabouts
"lift-honded" seems to have meant (a) left-handed, and (b) maimed.  And to
make it worse, this comes from "lift-honde", which means (a) maimed, (b)
impenitent, incorrigible.

Not just clumsy: maimed and incorrigible.
You sent me off to the OED, which has left me feeling even gaucher, if possible, adding paralysis and general worthlessness to the list - at least, if you happen to be a speaker of East Frisian. It does indeed seem that 'left' meant all these nasty things first, and only contingently became a name for a 'side' of something or someone. This works its way through to the main OED definition: 'The distinctive epithet of the hand which is normally the weaker of the two.'
But isn't there a ray of hope here? Because for me, the hand which is normally (in fact invariably) the weaker of the two is my right hand. So my left hand is also my right hand, leaving me a spare to which no name can be attached. I rather like the idea of having an anonymous hand - perhaps I can use it to do good by stealth?
Charlie

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