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Ambidester est qui utraque manu pro dextra utitur.


Ambidester ABC e | Ambidexter f | Ambideste H

est utraque manu pro dextra utitur om. ms. f replaced by the text of the next entry: Ambliopia.

pro dextra AH | prodestrauntur C {untur = utitur?} | pro destra B | per dextram e

vtitur A e | vtetur B | prodestrauntur C {untur = utitur?} | utitur H


Ambidester is a person who uses both hands for the right hand.


Most of Simon's witnesses offer a strongly Romance influenced Latin form: ambidester, with /–xt-/ changing to /–st-/, as reflected in all Romance language cognates, cf. Italian destro, Spanish diestro, etc, cf. Meyer-Lübke (1924: 239, 2618).

Ambidexter here is a late Latin calque attempting to translate Greek ἀμφοτεροδέξιος /amphoterodéxios/, a compound of ἀμφοτερο- /amphotero-/ {"either, i.e. both of two" (LSJ)} + δεξιός /dexiós/ {"dextrous, skilful"}. The word is first documented in the early Christian translations of the Bible into Latin, generally referred to as Itala. In Judges 3,15 a rescuer of the Jewish people is mentioned, Ehud, who was sent to the troublesome Moabite King Eglon, whom he killed.

Of Ehud it is said in the Hebrew original: איש אטר ידˉימינו /îš iṭṭēr yad-yәmînô/ lit. "a man shut of his right hand", an expression nowadays mostly translated as "left-handed".

But in the Greek Lxx, it was translated as ᾄνδρα ἀμφοτεροδέξιον /ándra amphoterodéxion/ "a man adroit with both hands", which in the Itala translation becomes virum ambidextrum, cf. Rönsch (1875: 223).

The Vulgate version is more descriptive in its rendering: {Ahoth = Ehud, the rescuer} … qui utraque manu utebatur pro dextera, - "{Ehud} who used to use both hands as his right hand", which is the definition Simon has adopted.

Wilf Gunther 13/04/13

See also: Peridexios

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