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

  • adjective Of, belonging to, located on, or being the side of the body to the north when the subject is facing east.
  • adjective Of, relating to, directed toward, or located on the left side.
  • adjective Located on the left side of a person facing downstream.
  • adjective Of or belonging to the political or intellectual left.
  • noun The direction or position on the left side.
  • noun The left side.
  • noun The left hand.
  • noun A turn in the direction of the left hand or side.
  • noun The people and groups who advocate liberal, often radical measures to effect change in the established order, especially in politics, with the goal of achieving the equality, freedom, and well-being of the common citizens of a state.
  • noun The opinion of those advocating such measures.
  • noun Sports A blow delivered by a boxer's left hand.
  • noun Baseball Left field.
  • adverb Toward or on the left.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Toward the left; sinistrad: as, they scattered right and left.
  • A preterit and past participle of leeve.
  • Preterit and past participle of leave, leave.
  • Belonging to that side of the body of man and other animals which is directed toward the west when the face or front is turned to the north; sinistral: the opposite of right: as, the left hand, arm, leg, ear, or eye; the heart beats on the left side of the body.
  • Being on the left-hand side; situated on the side toward which the left hand of a person is or is supposed to be turned.
  • noun The left-hand side; the side opposite to the right: as, turn to the left (hand); the left (wing) of an army; to wheel from right to left.
  • noun In the politics of continental Europe, that part of a legislative assembly which sits on the left of the president; specifically, the liberal or democratic party, as that party, according to custom, always sits on this side of the house.
  • noun A worthless creature.
  • noun In music and stage directions abbreviated L.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • imperative, past participle of leave.
  • noun That part of surrounding space toward which the left side of one's body is turned.
  • noun Those members of a legislative assembly (as in France) who are in the opposition; the advanced republicans and extreme radicals. They have their seats at the left-hand side of the presiding officer. See Center, and Right.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to that side of the body in man on which the muscular action of the limbs is usually weaker than on the other side; -- opposed to right, when used in reference to a part of the body. Also said of the corresponding side of the lower animals.
  • adjective Situated so that the left side of the body is toward it.
  • adjective that which is on the left hand of a person whose face is turned downstream.
  • adjective See under 2d Bower.
  • adjective the members whose sympathies are, in the main, with the members of the Left, but who do not favor extreme courses, and on occasions vote with the government. They sit between the Center and the extreme Left.
  • adjective an old but still current colloquialism, or slang expression, used as an aside to indicate insincerity, negation, or disbelief.

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

  • verb Simple past tense and past participle of leave.
  • verb remaining
  • verb Ireland, colloquial permitted, allowed to proceed.
  • adjective The opposite of right; toward the west when one is facing north.
  • adjective politics pertaining to the political left; liberal
  • adverb On the left side.
  • adverb Towards the left side.
  • noun The left side or direction.
  • noun politics The ensemble of left-wing political parties. Those holding left-wing views as a group.
  • noun boxing A punch delivered with the left fist.

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

  • adjective intended for the left hand
  • noun the hand that is on the left side of the body
  • noun the piece of ground in the outfield on the catcher's left
  • noun those who support varying degrees of social or political or economic change designed to promote the public welfare


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

[Middle English, from Old English lyft-, weak, useless (in lyftādl, paralysis). N., sense 2, from the fact that liberals often sit on the left side of the legislative chamber in various assemblies .]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English left, variant of laft ("remaining, left"), from Old English lǣfd, ġelǣfd, past participle of lǣfan ("to leave"). More at leave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From a verbal use of leave ("permission"), perhaps connected to Middle English leven ("to give leave to, permit, concede"), from Old English līefan, lȳfan ("to allow"). More at leave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English left, luft, leoft, lift, lyft, from Old English left, lyft ("weak, useless"), from Proto-Germanic *luft- (compare Scots left ("left"), North Frisian lefts, leeft, leefts ("left"), West Frisian lofts ("left"), Dutch dialect loof ("weak, worthless"), dialectal Low German lucht ("left"), from *lubjanan "to castrate, lop off" (compare dialectal English lib, West Frisian lobje, Dutch lubben), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)leup, *(s)lup "hanging limply". More at lob, lop.


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  • Small point of pedantry... the Sedgefield speech was not on the day Blair left Downing St well he did of course leave Downing Street to get there, but it wasn't the day he *left* Downing Street.

    Wonder how much that seat cost? 2007

  • It should also be remarked that the cow-pony is guided, not by pulling either the right or left rein, but by the rider carrying his bridle hand over to the _left_ if he wants to go to the left, and vice versa.

    Ranching, Sport and Travel Thomas Carson

  • Only people who cling to old-fashioned customs still fold over the right side of a visiting-card to show that the card was left _in person_, and also fold over the _left side_ to show that the call was intended for _all_ the women of the household.

    Etiquette Agnes H. Morton

  • A square knot is tied by holding an end of a bandage or cord in each hand, and then passing the end in the _right_ hand over the one in the left and tying; the end now in the _left_ hand is passed over the one in the right and again tied.

    A Practical Physiology Albert F. Blaisdell

  • And she’s left no leggicies to speak on, —left it all in a lump to her husband’s nevvy.

    VII. Enter the Aunts and Uncles. Book I—Boy and Girl 1917

  • Likewise if you move the rear sight to the left (take left windage), the bullet will strike to the left_.

    Manual of Military Training Second, Revised Edition 1906

  • Pressing and rubbing _downward_ with the left hand on the lower _left_ side of the belly will do much to induce a movement of the bowels.

    Manual of Military Training Second, Revised Edition 1906

  • Raise the skirt, thus, the left foot in advance; the _left_, Peggy, child of despair! now bend the right knee, and slowly, slowly, sink thus, with grace and dignity.

    Three Margarets Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards 1896

  • When we speak of _the left hand_, the form _left_ is really Kentish, and occurs in the _Ayenbite of

    English Dialects From the Eighth Century to the Present Day 1873

  • Away flies the punt to the left, and he is just about to bend to the sculls with the force of Goliath, when he perceives his mistake -- the divergence was to the _left_!

    The Red Man's Revenge A Tale of The Red River Flood 1859


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  • Contronymic in the sense: departed vs. what remains.

    January 31, 2007

  • No child left (wing) behind.

    May 14, 2008

  • No Wordnet definition for this word. How bizarre.

    December 10, 2008

  • Especially since there is a definition for right. Searching for left on does return results, so maybe the problem is with Wordie's implementation.

    December 10, 2008

  • Oh I had a cleft, with a capital C

    Took away the left, oh yes dear me

    So what was left, was a capital C

    Say can you tell me,

    How can that B?

    How can that C,

    Be what was left?

    When I took left,

    As part of my theft?

    A verse from the theme of the exciting TV series, Cleft Behind, in which a certain member of the U.S. congress finds the Rapture is just a poorly-spelled text msg away.

    December 10, 2008

  • Awesome verse! Question-- without a physical demonstration, how do you describe to someone you can't see, where left is?

    July 19, 2009

  • nigh

    April 19, 2011