|This is a left hand, in all its sinister, cack-handed glory|
(drawing by Al Arthur)
Adjective. Colloquial. Mid-19th century.
Lefties are a sorry bunch. Not only do they have to endure living in a right-handed world that chuckles at them every time they try and open a can of beans, they also have to endue an interminably prejudicial language that both elevates right-handers and denigrates left-handers - the word sinister, for example, is from a Latin root meaning left. Few words are as openly hostile as cack-handed, though: cack as a noun means 'excrement, dung, filth.' And we can't even blame the Romans for this little piece of linguistic hate - there is no etymological link between cack and left; at some point in 19th century we just arbitrarily decided that cack-handed means left-handed. And clumsy. Which is a tad unfair.
Not that left-handed people aren't more than capable of retaliatory prejudice, though: I do get rather tired of hearing how much smarter, brilliant and artistic left-handed people are (one girl I once met expressed surprise that I dabble in a spot of writing, what with me being right-handed, and all of us right-handers being such apelike philistines). And it's not that I can't use my left hand in a dextrous way - I can play the piano and type, after all. I just can't write with my left hand. Or cut bread. Or use a screwdriver. Or ... no ... open a tin of beans. Anyway, this isn't about us right-handers, is it? It about the lefties ... it's always about the lefties ...
Are you left-handed?
Does it make you cack-handed?
Have you ever received prejudicial treatment on account of your handedness?
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