A MÃ£o Esquerda da EscuridÃ£o
Here's an old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 7 years ago, in 2016, on the World Wide Web.
So I don’t know if this is your thing, but if it is, you may have noticed that in all of the Iberian Romance languages, the most commonly used words for the
left — the direction left, or on the left-hand side — are obviously related to each other: Castilian Spanish izquierdo, Catalan esquerre, Galego/Portuguese esquerdo, etc. — are all obviously related to each other, but none of them seem to bear any particular relation to the usual Latin word for
left, which is sinister. So then if they didn’t get it from granddaddy Latin, where’d they all get it? Well, the other day I learned that the answer is that when people give you directions on the Iberian peninsula, they’re all getting their word for
left from Basque. Neat.
Shared Article from Wiktionary
- Forms of that word still exist in the modern languages — it’s siniestro in Castilian Spanish, sestro in Portuguese, etc. — and they can strictly speaking still be used to mean
to the leftor
on the left-hand side.But their primary use is much more like English
sinister,to suggest something perverse, evil, unsettling or insidious; using them to indicate left as a direction or handedness would be to make a word choice with a certain connotation of archaism or exoticism, like using
blackto describe the color of my coffee table.↩
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