[16] Ambidextrous means literally ‘right-handed on both sides’. It was formed in Latin from the prefix ambi- ‘both’ and the adjective dexter ‘right-handed’ (source of English dextrous). Ambi- corresponds to the Latin adjective ambo ‘both’, which derived ultimately from the Indo-European base *amb- ‘around’ (an element in the source of ambassador and embassy). The second element in Latin ambo seems to correspond to Old English ba ‘both’, which is related to modern English both. ambiguous 22 Other English words formed with the prefix amb(i)- include ambient [16] (which came, like ambition, from Latin ambīre ‘go round’), ambit [16] (from Latin ambitus ‘circuit’), ambiguous, ambition, amble, and ambulance. => DEXTROUS

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ambidextrous — Am bi*dex trous, a. 1. Having the faculty of using both hands with equal ease. Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] 2. Practicing or siding with both parties. [1913 Webster] All false, shuffling, and ambidextrous dealings. L Estrange. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambidextrous — (adj.) 1640s, with OUS (Cf. ous), from ambidexter (adj.) double dealing (1610s), from Fr. ambidextre or directly from L. ambidexter, lit. right handed on both sides, from ambi both (see AMBI (Cf. ambi )) + dexter right handed (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • ambidextrous — Note the spelling trous, not terous …   Modern English usage

  • ambidextrous — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ able to use the right and left hands equally well. DERIVATIVES ambidexterity noun ambidextrously adverb ambidextrousness noun. ORIGIN from Latin ambi on both sides + dexter right handed …   English terms dictionary

  • ambidextrous — [am΄bə deks′trəs] adj. [< earlier ambidexter + OUS] 1. able to use both hands with equal ease 2. very skillful or versatile 3. deceitful; double dealing ambidexterity [am΄bədeks ter′ə tē] n. ambidextrously adv …   English World dictionary

  • ambidextrous — ambidextrously, adv. ambidextrousness, n. /am bi dek streuhs/, adj. 1. able to use both hands equally well: an ambidextrous surgeon. 2. unusually skillful; facile: an ambidextrous painter, familiar with all media. 3. double dealing; deceitful. 4 …   Universalium

  • ambidextrous — [[t]æ̱mbide̱kstrəs[/t]] ADJ: usu v link ADJ Someone who is ambidextrous can use both their right hand and their left hand equally skilfully …   English dictionary

  • ambidextrous — [16] Ambidextrous means literally ‘right handed on both sides’. It was formed in Latin from the prefix ambi ‘both’ and the adjective dexter ‘right handed’ (source of English dextrous). Ambi corresponds to the Latin adjective ambo ‘both’, which… …   Word origins

  • ambidextrous — adjective Etymology: Late Latin ambidexter, from Latin ambi + dexter right hand more at dexter Date: 1646 1. using both hands with equal ease 2. unusually skillful ; versatile 3. characterized by duplicit …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ambidextrous — adjective a) Having equal ability in both hands; in particular, able to write equally well with both hands. b) Of a person, bisexual. Ant: ambilevous, ambisinistrous See Also: ambidexterity …   Wiktionary