Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or located on the right side.
  • adj. Heraldry Situated on or being the side of a shield on the wearer's right and the observer's left.
  • adj. Obsolete Auspicious; favorable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Right; on the right-hand side.
  • n. The right side of a shield from the wearer's standpoint, and the left side to the viewer.
  • n. right hand

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or situated on, the right hand; right, as opposed to sinister, or left.
  • adj. On the right-hand side of a shield, i. e., towards the right hand of its wearer. To a spectator in front, as in a pictorial representation, this would be the left side.
  • n. One of a breed of small hardy cattle originating from the Kerry breed of Ireland, valuable both for beef and milk. They are usually chiefly black, sometimes red, and somewhat resemble a small shorthorn in build. Called also Dexter Kerry.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or situated on the right hand; right, as opposed to left: as, the dexter side of a shield.
  • n. In heraldry, that side of the shield which is toward the right when the shield is braced or fitted upon the arm; hence, the side of the field toward the left of the spectator.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. on or starting from the wearer's right

Etymologies

Latin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin dexter, from Proto-Indo-European *deks(i)-tero-, from Proto-Indo-European *deks- (“right”) (Pokorny, Watkins, 1969; et al.) Compare Homeric Greek δεξιτερός (dexiteros) "right hand", δεξιός (dexios), "right", Old Church Slavonic деснъ (desnŭ, "right"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • OED sez: Belonging to or situated on the right side of a person, animal, or object worn on the body; right; esp. in Her. the opposite of sinister.
    The dexter side of a person, animal, shield, etc., is to the left of the spectator facing it.

    February 5, 2007

  • "Sooner have me as I am than some poet chap with bearsgrease, plastery hair lovelock over his dexter optic."
    Joyce, Ulysses, 13

    January 14, 2007