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. Slang. bisexual.


  1. equally expert with each hand
  2. informal highly skilled or adept
  3. underhanded; deceitful

1640s, with -ous, from ambidexter (adj.) “double-dealing” (1610s), from French ambidextre or directly from Latin ambidexter, literally “right-handed on both sides,” from ambi– “both” (see ambi-) + dexter “right-handed” (see dexterity). Its opposite, ambilevous “left-handed on both sides, clumsy” (1640s) is rare. Ambidexter as a noun, “one who takes bribes from both sides,” is attested from 1530s and is the earliest form of the word in English; its sense of “one who uses both hands equally well” appears by 1590s.


  1. Able to use both hands with equal facility.

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