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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English left, luft, leoft, lift, lyft, from Old English left, lyft (air, atmosphere), from Proto-Germanic *luft- (compare Scots left (left), North Frisian lefts, leeft, leefts (left), West Frisian lofts (left), dialectal Dutch loof (weak, worthless), Low German lucht (left)), from *lubjaną (to castrate, lop off) (compare dialectal English lib, West Frisian lobje, Dutch lubben), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)leup, *(s)lup (hanging limply). More at lob, lop.


  • IPA(key): /lɛft/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛft


left (comparative more left or lefter, superlative most left or leftmost)

  1. The opposite of right; toward the west when one is facing north.
    Synonyms: sinister, sinistral
    Antonyms: right, dexter, dextral
    The left side.
  2. (politics) Pertaining to the political left.
    Antonym: right
The fruit to the viewer's left is smaller.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit


left (not comparable)

  1. On the left side.
    Antonym: right
  2. Towards the left side.
    Antonym: right
    Turn left at the corner.
  3. Towards the political left.
    Antonym: right
    The East Coast of the US leans left in elections.
    • 2019 June 27, Lauren Gambino, “Democratic 2020 candidates clash on healthcare, immigration and economy in first debate”, in The Guardian[1]:
      While the Democrats veered left on issues from immigration to gun control, they diverged on how boldly to transform the US economy.


left (plural lefts)

  1. The left side or direction.
    Synonyms: 9 o'clock, port
  2. (politics) The ensemble of left-wing political parties. Those holding left-wing views as a group.
    The political left is holding too much power.
  3. (boxing) A punch delivered with the left fist.
Derived termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

Middle English left, variant of laft (remaining, left), from Old English lǣfd, ġelǣfd, past participle of lǣfan (to leave). More at leave.



  1. simple past tense and past participle of leave.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Afore we got to the shanty Colonel Applegate stuck his head out of the door. His temper had been getting raggeder all the time, and the sousing he got when he fell overboard had just about ripped what was left of it to ravellings.

Etymology 3Edit

From a verbal use of leave (permission), perhaps connected to Middle English leven (to give leave to, permit, concede), from Old English līefan, lȳfan (to allow). More at leave.



  1. (Ireland, colloquial) permitted, allowed to proceed.
    We were not left go to the beach after school except on a weekend.


  • The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, Walter W. Skeat.