from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Left-handed.
  • adjective Awkward; clumsy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective clumsy
  • adjective left-handed
  • adjective back-handed


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

[Perhaps from Old Norse keikr, bent backwards; akin to Danish keite, left-handed.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

cack (“excrement”) +‎ handed.



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  • Left-handed; ham-handed, clumsy, awkward.

    Favorite usage: "I never met such a cack-handed jackass in all my born days." 1955 M. ALLINGHAM Beckoning Lady vi. 91

    February 2, 2007

  • I like this term, too. But what's the etymology of the cack part?

    August 29, 2008

  • Oh dear. I went and looked cack up in the OED. Please see this list, the word cack, and all left-handed people please accept my apologies for this word that I found charmingly archaic until I looked at where it came from. *hangs head*

    On a positive note, the usages for the term cack-handed don't mention excrement:

    Left-handed; ham-handed, clumsy, awkward. Hence cack-handedness.

    1854 A. E. BAKER Gloss. Northants. I. 365 Keck-handed, awkward, left-handed. 1859 N. & Q. VIII. 483 If a man, at hay time or harvest, holds his fork with his left hand lowest, they say, ‘Ah! he's no good! he's keck-handed!...’ 1893 DARTNELL & GODDARD Gloss. Wiltshire 21 Cack-handed, cag-handed. 1955 M. ALLINGHAM Beckoning Lady vi. 91, I never met such a kack-handed jackass in all my born days. 1959 P. MCCUTCHAN Storm South iv. 52 He would... moan about the cack-handedness of Bacon (which was nonsense, for Bacon was a first-rate steward). 1961 Spectator 22 Sept. 384 An insanely slothful or cack-handed publican. 1964 S. JEPSON Fear in Wind i. 17 A series of kack-handed manuvres... designed to keep one end of a stick on the ground. 1967 J. POTTER Foul Play x. 125 When he saw the ball going the wrong side of him, he lunged his hockey stick out behind him... ‘Just thought I'd try a bit of your cack-handed stuff.’

    August 29, 2008

  • Vindication at last. Where's plethora? ;-)

    August 29, 2008

  • Just to clarify, I never liked the term to mock left-handers, or used it that way. I remember, when I was a kid, people (siblings) making fun of left-handers, and thinking, "That's stupid." In the sense of "can't you think of anything better to make fun of them for?"

    Edit: And I certainly never meant to call anyone shit-handed! *hork*

    August 29, 2008

  • Feels good.

    August 29, 2008

  • Oh, don't worry, c_b--I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly didn't take it that way. It is an odd-sounding word. Besides, I'm sure you could think of something better to make fun of me for. I mean, you have a whole list already. :->

    August 30, 2008

  • Reesetee! Shame! That's not a list making fun of you. It's merely recording for wordieternity the things that are said about you. Or, you know, near you.

    By the way... you aren't cack-handed, are you? ;)

    August 30, 2008