sinister

People who are left-handed might feel unlucky having to use a desk designed for right-handers, but there probably wasn't any sinister, or evil, intent behind the design. Or was there?

In the 15th century, when the word sinister came into use in English, people who were left-handed were thought to be bad luck or even evil. In his play Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote of the villain holding a human skull in his sinister — i.e., left — hand. It would seem to be sinister, or wicked, enough to see a human skull in the right hand, not to mention unlucky for the person missing a head in the first place.

Definitions of sinister
  1. adjective
    stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or dishonorable
    “"the scheme of some sinister intelligence bent on punishing him"-Thomas Hardy”
    synonyms: black, dark
    evil
    morally bad or wrong
  2. adjective
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    sinister storm clouds”
    “a sinister smile”
    synonyms: baleful, forbidding, menacing, minacious, minatory, ominous, threatening
    alarming
    frightening because of an awareness of danger
  3. adjective
    on or starting from the wearer's left
    “bar sinister
    Synonyms:
    sinistral
    of or on the left
Word Family