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The way I remember is that the Romans associated the left with bad things, with this ultimately making its way into English in the word "sinister" [1]

As this association was extended to left-handed people, its use nominally perpetuates an ancient slur, but I think we can put that aside.

[1] https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/39092/how-did-si...

Bingo. A left handed person is sinistrous, a right handed person is dexterous.

An interesting place this is preserved is in heraldry[0], and I've also heard it used in cards (a King, in red, facing the dexter).

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexter_and_sinister

Yeah, I've heard the mnemonic "an Either contains either the Right answer or else whatever's Left", which is simple/punny enough to be memorable.

That perfectly captures what it does too. Nice one.

And here I've just been using the fact that "right" also means "correct" in English

I never thought about it before, but I wonder if there is a connection? - along the lines of "correct" and "just" (in the sense of ethically correct) being the opposite of bad / evil? Some people here [1] think so, but "right" appears to have Germanic roots (but then again, perhaps the idea of right/good and left/bad may predate the Romans, and maybe goes back to the time of proto- Indo-European, or even further.)

"Right" also has the meaning of "upright" (as in right angle) or, archaically, as "straight", and the normal processing path might be regarded as the straight one in the railway metaphor.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/etymology/comments/2cdshk/etymology...

There is a connection it's just that the 'right-as-not-left' bit is the newer development.


I usually just treat it as a pun between "Right/Left" and "Right/Wrong".

Interesting, thanks for explaining.

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