Interesting facts

26th January 2001 at 00:00
Left-handers are called all sorts of names. Here are a few, taken from the Left-Handers Club website: buck-fisted, cack-handed, caggy, clicky, corrie-pawed, cow-pawed, gar-pawed, gibble-fisted, keck-fisted, kerry, left-kelly, left-plug, scoochy, scrammy-handed, skiffle-handed, south-pawed.

In folklore, the devil is generally portrayed as being left-handed. If you get out of bed with the left foot first, you will have a bad day. An itchy right palm means that you will receive money but an itchy left palm means you will lose it.

The Greeks and Romans associated evil with the left hand and we still wear wedding rings on that side in orde to fend it off. The right hand is frequently considered "male", while the left is "female".

In Christianity, the right hand gives the blessing and makes the sign of the Cross. The Bible is said to contain more than 100 favourable references to the right hand and 25 unfavourable references to the left. In Islam. the left hand is seen as unclean and, throughout the Middle East, it is customary to eat with the right hand and reserve the left for matters of personal hygiene.

Foreign words meaning "left" have taken on negative meanings in English. Sinister, from Latin, means malevolent, while gauche, from French, means awkward.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today