There are 2 main definitions of left in English:

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left 1

Pronunciation: /lɛft/


1On, towards, or relating to the side of a human body or of a thing which is to the west when the person or thing is facing north: her left eye the left side of the road
More example sentences
  • The patient was a sturdy young man with an abscess on the outer side of his left thigh.
  • He fell off of me, and as he got up I punched him square on the side of his left eye.
  • Take your right leg, bend it and pull the knee over towards the floor next to your left side.
left-hand, sinistral, at nine o'clock;
Nautical  port
Nautical , archaic larboard
Heraldry  sinister
2Relating to a person or group favouring radical, reforming, or socialist views: Left politics left periodicals such as Marxism Today
See left wing
More example sentences
  • The Green Party leadership appear to believe that the left vote is theirs by right.
  • The crowd was solidly left and markedly anarchist and Marxist for the most part it seems.
  • The Respect coalition has shown people are willing to vote for a left alternative.


On or to the left side: turn left here keep left
More example sentences
  • Leave the ticket office and pass in front of the main house, turning left at the far side.
  • Follow the lane and at the next road junction bear left to another junction of lanes.
  • Silverdale train station can be reached by going left at this road junction.


1 (the left) The left-hand part, side, or direction: turn to the left (one's left) the general sat to his left
More example sentences
  • She turned her eyes directly to the left when she saw a flicker of light from the barn.
  • There were only a few seats left, and one of them was the place directly to the left of him.
  • There is a small bar area to the left as you walk inside and then the main dining room to the right.
1.1(In football or a similar sport) the left-hand half of the field when facing the opponents' goal: a free kick from the left
More example sentences
  • Villa gained possession and advanced into the penalty area to the left of goal.
  • Del Piero, who's had a quiet game, expertly cuts in from the left and goes for goal.
  • Another charge was cut short illegally by a tug from Barker five yards to the left of the penalty area.
1.2The left wing of an army: a token attack on the Russian left
1.3A left turn: take a left here
More example sentences
  • After doing right turns and lefts until I lost count, I came to a huge oak brown door and knocked on it.
  • There are six rights and eight lefts, and the main straight is only 650m, so it will be quite demanding.
  • Take two lefts, then a right past Venice and you're there.
1.4A road, entrance, etc. on the left: my road’s the first left
1.5A person’s left fist, especially a boxer’s: a dazzler with the left
1.6A blow given with the left fist: a left to the body
More example sentences
  • Hunt KOs Jerome, with a flurry of lefts and rights, polished off by a right hook to the head that tracks him down to the mat.
  • A right hand and a succession of lefts hurt Carey again in the third.
  • However, he pulled himself together and near corners scored frequently with well-placed lefts to the nose, drawing blood.
2 (often the Left) [treated as singular or plural] A group or party favouring radical, reforming, or socialist views: the Left is preparing to fight presidential elections he is on the left of the party
More example sentences
  • One is never enough because the Left is going to distort the facts just as much as the Right.
  • The parties of the Left and of the Right are in conflict because they both aim at supreme power.
  • The Left has much in common with the radicals in the Green movement and wants to work with them.



have two left feet

Be clumsy or awkward: if you stumble when you dance, you’ve got two left feet
More example sentences
  • Well I gave it a try and quickly discovered that I had two left feet and my dreams went up in smoke.
  • She is wrinkled, she is overweight, and she still has two left feet when it comes to dancing.
  • Maybe you've realized you have two left feet, skewed rhythm and zero coordination.

left, right, and centre (also left and right or right and left)

On all sides: deals were being done left, right, and centre
More example sentences
  • In a mild winter we are seeing people turning power off left, right, and centre.
  • I'm turning theatre down left, right, and centre at the moment and I hope my plan pays off.
  • You already ruled on this when Mr Mallard was on his feet insulting people left, right, and centre.



Pronunciation: /ˈlɛftɪʃ/
Example sentences
  • Ever since, leftish malcontents have taken every opportunity to condemn the iniquity of holding all applicants for admission to the same standards.
  • For a while, leftish bloggers were quite caught up in the notion that the correlation of good economic performance with Democratic presidencies had to be causal.
  • If the pollsters are overestimating Labour's support once more, the consequences of their blunders could leave a lot of leftish voters looking very silly.


Old English lyft, left 'weak' (the left-hand side being regarded as the weaker side of the body), of West Germanic origin.

  • The original core sense of left in Old English is ‘weak’—the majority of people are right-handed, and the left-hand side was regarded as the weaker side of the body. The political application of left originated in the French National Assembly of 1789, in which the nobles as a body took the position of honour on the president's right, and the Third Estate—the French bourgeoisie and working class—sat on his left. See also ambidextrous, sinister. In baseball left field is the part of the outfield that is to the left from the perspective of the batter. In US English something that is left-field or out of left field is surprising or unconventional, or possibly ignorant or mistaken. The connection with baseball probably came from the fact that in many early ball parks the left field was larger than the right, making it more difficult to retrieve balls hit there and sometimes leading to delay and general confusion.

Words that rhyme with left

bereft, cleft, deft, eft, heft, klepht, reft, theft, weft

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: left

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There are 2 main definitions of left in English:

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left 2

Pronunciation: /lɛft/
Past and past participle of leave1.

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Line breaks: left

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