I came across this Tweet recently which lists many

different words used in traditional dialects to refer to left-handed people[.]

It looks like a majority of the English terms are all quite derogatory. There certainly exists some sort of prejudice against left-handed people in many different cultures. I know some dialectical terms for left-handed people like: 左刮刮、左括子、左拐拐、左拐子、左挎儿, but these all seem fairly innocent. But, this got me wondering:

Does Chinese have any disparaging terms for left-handed people?


First of all I'd like to point out that the most commonly used term is 左撇子. Technically, 左撇子, together with the ones you have mentioned (if they do exist, I think I've heard of 左拐子 but not the others, of course they are probably dialectal and someone who knows more about dialects may correct me), is actually derogatory. However, this term is so widely used that people often say it without any prejudice intended. For a specific conversation, you will have to tell from the context. If you want to avoid being accidentally offensive, you can say 惯用左手的人(someone who is more comfortable using the left hand). A more technical term is 左利手, which is not disparaging in any way but also a lot less common.

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  • 1
    Agree, I only use 左撇子 – sylvia Dec 7 '19 at 17:15

In the northest region, people say 左皮赖子(not entirely sure how to write it correctly though). I'm not sure how widely it has been spread among Chinese speakers around the country.

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Among the Cantonese, it's 左 手 鬼, which is self-explanatory.

The older Chinese, (just like some other older peoples), have the idea that there is something bad, evil even, about left-handedness, hence the derogatory terms.

I myself was a "victim" I was born left-handed and when I used the left hand to hold the chopsticks, my grandfather would hit my chopstick holding hand hard, forcing me to switch to my right hand. Hence I grew up, much against my nature, using my right hand for chopstick and writing, (the two most important hand usages in Chinese culture), and the left hand for everything else, including kicking footballs with the left leg.

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  • I am Cantonese, but I never heard of "左手鬼". I only know "左𠰋仔" (左𠰋 means left-handed, 仔 means boy) – Tang Ho Dec 7 '19 at 12:50
  • 左𠰋 is a variant of 左㕭 – Tang Ho Dec 7 '19 at 12:58

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