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Mar 3, 2022
This week’s theme
Words originating in the hand

This week’s words
palmate
two-fisted
pugilism
cack-handed
manuduction

cack-handed
“Hey, Batman, are you right-handed or left-handed?”
“You tell me.”
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

cack-handed

PRONUNCIATION:
(kak-HAN-did, KAK-han-)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Clumsy; awkward.
2. Left-handed.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin. Perhaps from cack (excrement), ultimately from the Indo-European root kakka-/kaka- (to defecate) which also gave us poppycock, cacophony, cacology, cacography, and cacoethes. Earliest documented use: 1854.

NOTES:
Bias against left-handedness has been a part of language for a long time. Other examples are gauche (from French), sinisterity (Latin), and ambisinister. Do you speak another language? What such terms exist in your language? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org.

USAGE:
“One of the all-time-great corporate emails was sent several years ago, by a manager at Shell to pep up a team of oil engineers on a project in the far east of Russia.
‘Personally, I, like most others, love winning,’ he raved. ‘I despise cowards and play to win all of the time.’
... Copying from the army is seldom so cack-handed, but the idea that managers have lessons to learn from uniformed types persists.”
Into Battle They Don’t Go; The Economist (London, UK); Oct 30, 2021.

“‘I’m the cack-handed one.’ Her giggle was one of nervousness. She held up her left hand. ‘I had it tied behind me back at school when I was wee.’”
Patrick Taylor; An Irish Country Practice; Tom Doherty Associates; 2017.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus. -Alexander Graham Bell, inventor (3 Mar 1847-1922)

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