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left1

[left] /lɛft/
adjective
1.
of, relating to, or located on or near the side of a person or thing that is turned toward the west when the subject is facing north (opposed to right).
2.
(often initial capital letter) of or belonging to the political Left; having liberal or radical views in politics.
3.
Mathematics. pertaining to an element of a set that has a given property when written on the left of an element or set of elements of the set:
a left identity, as 1 in 1 ⋅ x = x.
noun
4.
the left side or something that is on the left side.
5.
a turn toward the left:
Make a left at the next corner.
6.
the Left.
  1. the complex of individuals or organized groups advocating liberal reform or revolutionary change in the social, political, or economic order.
  2. the position held by these people.
    Compare right (def 33a, b).
  3. left wing.
7.
(usually initial capital letter) Government.
  1. the part of a legislative assembly, especially in continental Europe, that is situated on the left side of the presiding officer and that is customarily assigned to members of the legislature who hold more radical and socialistic views than the rest of the members.
  2. the members of such an assembly who sit on the left.
8.
Boxing. a blow delivered by the left hand.
9.
Baseball. left field (def 1).
adverb
10.
toward the left:
She moved left on entering the room.
Origin
1125-1175
1125-75; 1935-40 for def 6; Middle English left, lift, luft, Old English left idle, weak, useless, Kentish form of lyft- (in lyftādl palsy); cognate with Dutch, Low German lucht; akin to Middle English libbe (modern dial. lib) to castrate, cognate with Dutch, Low German lubben
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for the left

left1

/lɛft/
adjective
1.
(usually prenominal) of or designating the side of something or someone that faces west when the front is turned towards the north
2.
(usually prenominal) worn on a left hand, foot, etc
3.
(sometimes capital) of or relating to the political or intellectual left
4.
(sometimes capital) radical or progressive, esp as compared to less radical or progressive groups, persons, etc
adverb
5.
on or in the direction of the left
noun
6.
a left side, direction, position, area, or part related adjectives sinister sinistral
7.
(often capital) the supporters or advocates of varying degrees of social, political, or economic change, reform, or revolution designed to promote the greater freedom, power, welfare, or comfort of the common people
8.
to the left, radical in the methods, principles, etc, employed in striving to achieve such change
9.
(boxing)
  1. a blow with the left hand
  2. the left hand
Word Origin
Old English left idle, weak, variant of lyft- (in lyftādl palsy, literally: left-disease); related to Middle Dutch lucht left

left2

/lɛft/
verb
1.
the past tense and past participle of leave1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for the left

left

adj.

c.1200, from Kentish and northern English form of Old English lyft- "weak, foolish" (cf. lyft-adl "lameness, paralysis," East Frisian luf, Dutch dialectal loof "weak, worthless"). It emerged 13c. as "opposite of right" (the left being usually the weaker hand), a derived sense also found in cognate Middle Dutch and Low German luchter, luft. But German link, Dutch linker "left" are from Old High German slinc and Middle Dutch slink "left," related to Old English slincan "crawl," Swedish linka "limp," slinka "dangle."

Replaced Old English winestra, literally "friendlier," a euphemism used superstitiously to avoid invoking the unlucky forces connected with the left side (see sinister). The Kentish word itself may have been originally a taboo replacement, if instead it represents PIE root *laiwo-, meaning "considered conspicuous" (represented in Greek laios, Latin laevus, and Russian levyi). Greek also uses a euphemism for "left," aristeros "the better one" (cf. also Avestan vairyastara- "to the left," from vairya- "desirable"). But Lithuanian kairys "left" and Lettish kreilis "left hand" derive from a root that yields words for "twisted, crooked."

As an adverb from early 14c. As a noun from c.1200. Political sense arose from members of a legislative body assigned to the left side of a chamber, first attested in English 1837 (by Carlyle, in reference to the French Revolution), probably a loan-translation of French la gauche (1791), said to have originated during the seating of the French National Assembly in 1789 in which the nobility took the seats on the President's right and left the Third Estate to sit on the left. Became general in U.S. and British political speech c.1900.

Used since at least c.1600 in various senses of "irregular, illicit;" earlier proverbial sense was "opposite of what is expressed" (mid-15c.). Phrase out in left field "out of touch with pertinent realities" is attested from 1944, from the baseball fielding position that tends to be far removed from the play. To have two left feet "be clumsy" is attested by 1902. The Left Bank of Paris (left bank of the River Seine, as you face downstream) has been associated with intellectual and artistic culture since at least 1893.

v.

past tense and past participle of leave (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for the left

left

Related Terms

hang a left


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with the left
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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6
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