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Nov 17, 2016
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
kakistocracy
coulrophobia
boodler
ambisinistrous
defenestration

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

ambisinistrous

PRONUNCIATION:
(am-bi-SIN-uh-struhs)

MEANING:
adjective: Clumsy with both hands.

ETYMOLOGY:
Modeled after ambidextrous (able to use both hands with equal ease), from Latin ambi- (both) + sinister (left). Earliest documented use: 1863.

NOTES:
An ambisinistrous person has two left hands, etymologically speaking. You’d think it would be rare for such an uncommon word to have a perfect synonym, but there is one: ambilevous, from Latin laevus (left). A similar expression is “to have two left feet” (to be clumsy, especially while dancing).

USAGE:
“When Palinuro accused him of being ambidextrous, he protested he was actually ambisinistrous which was more or less the same thing, but not quite, and went back to peeling his second orange.”
Fernando Del Paso, Elisabeth Plaister (translator); Palinuro of Mexico; Dalkey Archive Press; 1996.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs die not in sport, but in earnest. -Bion of Borysthenes, philosopher (c. 325-250 BCE)

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