Historically seen as ...
- a nasty habit
- a mark of the devil
- a sign of neurosis, rebellion and criminality
In European medieval Witchcraft texts it was said that it was the left hand that was used to curse another. The devil himself using his left hand to give a benediction.
The Latin adjective 'sinister/sinistra/sinistrum' originally meant left but later took on the meaning of 'evil' or 'unlucky'.
'Mancino', The Italian word for a left-hander, means treacherous whilst the German word, 'linkisch', means awkward.
Cesare Lombroso, a nineteenth century Italian criminologist famously spoke of 'left handedeness being a stigma of degeneracy'.
Scientific papers published as late as 1980 claimed that life expectancy was nine years less. Thankfully this was later discredited when it was found the authors of the report failed to take into account that the older people they examined were less likely to admit to their 'condition' due to the stigma.
Thankfully no longer such a stigma, today, August 13th is .....
But did you know?
- Depending on which site you look at between 5% and 10%/10% and 12% of the earth's population is left-handed
- According to a AA (Automobile Association) report 57% of British left-handers pass their test first time compared to 48% of right-handers
- Four of the last five USA presidents have been left handed
- Left-handed American college graduates are said to go on to become 26% richer than their right-handed counterparts
- On a standard keyboard there are 1447 English words typed solely with the left hand compared to 187 with the right
- The only other animal to show a distinct right/left preference is the parrot with tests showing that 90% of birds preferred to use their left foot for picking up food.
Join the Left Handers Club for free here.