Friday 13 May 2011


I picked this week's word: SINISTER. Today is Friday 13th (the only Friday 13th this year) and so it seemed apt, although I must say that nobody has mentioned it at all, so perhaps the whole concept seems a lot less sinister when it's sunny and bright outside.

Sinister is one of my favourite words because of where it comes from. It was the Latin word for left, but also meant awkward. Meanwhile, dexter means right, and also auspicious. Consequently, left handed people were "sinistra" and the word has a negative feeling to it. At the same time, our word for right is a homonym which can mean the right-hand orientation, or correct. And if you can write with both hands you are ambidextrous, which literally means "both sides right".

I really feel like language has been sending a message to lefties for a very long time. I'm not one, by the way; I just like the idosyncrasies of language.

Please visit these amazing blogs and read their entries and tell them how much you love them:

Emma at the Gift Shed
John at the Healing Seed
Carmen at Tales of a Biomouse
carola bARTz (who had good intentions but found life got in the way of her posting!)
Joye at Joyeful Art

I'm going to tag Emma to pick next week's word so go over to The Gift Shed to see what she comes up with.


John said...

Great word and post Sally, I too find language fascinating and I have learned what sinister really means thanks to you.

Carola Bartz said...

I had no idea about the left-hand meaning of the word. Hm... our president is left-handed, but he is not sinister at all! Thank you for this explanation, that was really interesting.
I'm sorry that I did NOT the WeekWord this week as too much was going on here and my mind was pre-occupied with the owls and there was absolutely no room for sinister...

Sally said...

Thanks both! No problem, Carola. I didn't know Obama was a leftie.

Joye Schwartz said...

So interesting, I never knew about sinister coming from the left handedness being thought of as bad. Hmmm Good word this week!