Main definitions of left in US English:

: left1left2



  • 1On, toward, or relating to the side of a human body or of a thing that is to the west when the person or thing is facing north.

    ‘her left eye’
    ‘the left side of the road’
    • ‘She was the victim of another stroke last March which affected the left side of her body and impaired her vision.’
    • ‘He has been left with slurred speech, and the left side of his body is weak after his brain was damaged.’
    • ‘There is a cluster of small, neat circular wounds on both sides of his left knee.’
    • ‘It veers slightly to one side, so I end up with my left shoulder aching after a while of constantly having to correct it.’
    • ‘He fell off of me, and as he got up I punched him square on the side of his left eye.’
    • ‘Another shot had hit her in the left knee, and this bullet also remained in her body.’
    • ‘The patient was a sturdy young man with an abscess on the outer side of his left thigh.’
    • ‘I reached out with my left arm, towards the window and gently rested my hand upon it.’
    • ‘He still has difficulty using his left-hand side and has a splint on his left ankle.’
    • ‘King testified that the angles of impact were on the left side of the body and the right side of the head.’
    • ‘Language only grounds itself in the left side of the brain as we move towards adulthood.’
    • ‘He dismounted on the left side, and his leather boots gave a loud thud when they hit the ground.’
    • ‘I'm slowly coming to realise that the left side of my body is far superior to my right side.’
    • ‘Bandages covered the left side of his face and his left arm, which lay atop the blankets.’
    • ‘Whenever I am extremely stressed, I suffer from an infection on the side of my left foot.’
    • ‘In his right hand he grasped his sheathed sword, and his left arm he held close to his body.’
    • ‘She could only extend her left arm for nine inches sideways from her body.’
    • ‘Take your right leg, bend it and pull the knee over towards the floor next to your left side.’
    • ‘He placed the sharp edge against his left cheek, just below his eye but didn't make a cut.’
    • ‘I laugh at her, pull my clothes towards me and then glance at the Rolex adorning my left wrist.’
    left-hand, sinistral, at nine o'clock
    View synonyms
  • 2Relating to a person or group favoring liberal, socialist, or radical views.

    ‘Left politics’
    • ‘The solution which the left cabinets proposed for the railway question is emblematic of the new regime.’
    • ‘The Green Party leadership appear to believe that the left vote is theirs by right.’
    • ‘In the absence of a real left alternative, the working class had to choose between one devil and another.’
    • ‘But there is also a much wider necessity to put forward a viable left alternative to Labour.’
    • ‘If a left platform had come out of the election with anything like that it would have been a sensation.’
    • ‘Wills has been forced into adopting a more left posture to defend his parliamentary position.’
    • ‘Instead we have seen the election of left leaders who have called openly for solidarity action.’
    • ‘The existence of Respect has begun to create a left alternative to New Labour.’
    • ‘The best thing that could happen is left unity - for all the small left parties to unite.’
    • ‘Together, we could have seriously eroded New Labour's hegemony on the left vote.’
    • ‘It is clearly time for a realignment of left politics as there is no chance of reclaiming the Labour Party now.’
    • ‘There has been no real fight against the Le Pen vote organised by the dominant left parties.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A united left campaign to rebuild the union at school level is urgently needed.’
    • ‘The left union leaders should issue a call for action in our workplaces for peace on 1 May.’
    • ‘This is less than the combined share of the smaller left parties in the first round.’
    • ‘The large left vote in the elections shows that it can still be an independent force in Indian politics.’
    • ‘Now that this perspective has so obviously failed, the left groups have little to say.’
    • ‘Some people think that it's the time to create a left alternative outside the Labour Party.’


  • On or to the left side.

    ‘turn left here’
    ‘keep left’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Continue to the main road, turn left and then right at a junction with the B6365.’
    • ‘Silverdale train station can be reached by going left at this road junction.’
    • ‘The third incident was when I hit the side of a bus that was turning left near a blind corner.’


  • 1the leftThe left-hand part, side, or direction.

    ‘a turn to the left’
    ‘the general sat to his left’
    • ‘Cross over to the left hand side and the canal can be reached on the left via a series of wooden steps.’
    • ‘They claim she began to lose weight and leaned badly to the left when sitting in a chair.’
    • ‘She turned her eyes directly to the left when she saw a flicker of light from the barn.’
    • ‘This climbs gradually on to the high plateau north of Bynack Mor and swings gently to the left of the mountain.’
    • ‘There was another subdivision on her right side, and a good sized church on her left.’
    • ‘He was sitting on my left while Tyson sat on my right holding a bag of ice on his black eye.’
    • ‘There is a small bar area to the left as you walk inside and then the main dining room to the right.’
    • ‘She looks at him, shakes her head, and moves slightly to the left so she's standing in front of the other bank of tills.’
    • ‘Because far more people look at departure boards than arrival boards, it is normal to put departures on the left.’
    • ‘A truck passed them on the left going the opposite direction, with Jared at the wheel.’
    • ‘Swing left here and follow the path under pylons with the wall on the left.’
    • ‘They were in a small room with a table to the right side, and a small window to the left.’
    • ‘And it must have been coincidence that I happened to be walking on the left when he'd passed.’
    • ‘There were only a few seats left, and one of them was the place directly to the left of him.’
    • ‘Our road took us along this western side with the sandy belt on our left.’
    • ‘To the left of this is Israel and the West Bank; to the right is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.’
    • ‘To my left were a weight bench and a long horizontal bar that was built into the wall.’
    • ‘Follow the path over a ladder stile that leads in front of the farmhouse then cross the stile to the left by a gate after the house.’
    • ‘He was now lying to the side, but he had one arm to my left, and the other to my right.’
    • ‘That's the museum building on the left and the reading room on the right.’
    1. 1.1 (in soccer or a similar sport) the left-hand half of the field when facing the opponents' goal.
      ‘a free kick from the left’
      • ‘Villa gained possession and advanced into the penalty area to the left of goal.’
      • ‘Celtic go on a rare foray outside their own half and win a free-kick just to the left of the Milan box.’
      • ‘Brian Flynn made a great burst down the left with a goal very much on his mind.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2leftBaseball
      ‘a sacrifice fly to left’
      short for left field
    3. 1.3 The left wing of an army.
      ‘a token attack on the Russian left’
    4. 1.4 A left turn.
      ‘take a left here’
      • ‘There are six rights and eight lefts, and the main straight is only 650m, so it will be quite demanding.’
      • ‘Make a right, and two lefts, than another right.’
      • ‘I knew Lake Forest well enough to envision where I was going by the lefts and rights we took but I lost track once we made the fifth turn.’
      • ‘She went down the stairs with me trailing along while telling me a few things I needed to remember, turned a few lefts and rights until I didn't know where I was, and finally stopped at a large door.’
      • ‘‘Then make two lefts and I'm the ranch house with the blue shutters,’ he explained.’
      • ‘After doing right turns and lefts until I lost count, I came to a huge oak brown door and knocked on it.’
      • ‘Take two lefts, then a right past Venice and you're there.’
    5. 1.5 A road, entrance, etc. on the left.
      ‘my road's the first left’
    6. 1.6 A person's left fist, especially a boxer's.
      ‘a dazzler with the left’
    7. 1.7 A blow given with the left fist.
      ‘a left to the body’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, he pulled himself together and near corners scored frequently with well-placed lefts to the nose, drawing blood.’
      • ‘He was a tough opponent and he caught me with a few big lefts.’
      • ‘A right hand and a succession of lefts hurt Carey again in the third.’
      • ‘Although O'Malley continued to come forward McLeod delivered all of the important shots, hitting him with rights and lefts.’
  • 2treated as singular or plural A group or party favoring liberal, socialist, or radical views.

    ‘the Left is preparing to fight presidential elections’
    ‘he is on the left of the party’
    • ‘The cover, then as now, was a moral imperialist fantasy that appealed to parts of the Left.’
    • ‘In the broader picture, does this contention imply that America needs a credible party of the Left?’
    • ‘We have built a great movement, whose social weight resonates well beyond the borders of the Left.’
    • ‘The radical Left will need better representation than Ralph Nader at the next election.’
    • ‘The national question is not a problem for the Left; it is a problem for the British ruling class.’
    • ‘The parties of the Left and of the Right are in conflict because they both aim at supreme power.’
    • ‘One is never enough because the Left is going to distort the facts just as much as the Right.’
    • ‘The Left has much in common with the radicals in the Green movement and wants to work with them.’
    • ‘Critics of America are not, in any case, drawn exclusively from the pacifist Left.’
    • ‘The book is littered with one-liners and anecdotes that will be familiar to activists on the Left.’
    • ‘This would be the time for the Left to unite and lay the basis for the party that Argentinian workers need.’
    • ‘That experience in Scotland has directly led to the rebuilding of the Left in England.’
    • ‘A key element in this process will be the capacity of the Argentinian Left to overcome its divisions.’
    • ‘Serge clearly still saw himself as an active member of the anti-Stalinist Left.’
    • ‘From this point of view the change in the vote for the radical Left is extremely significant.’
    • ‘It is of course the Right who regard the Left as little more than empty slogans and iconography.’
    • ‘That a common approach on all the central questions was agreed is significant for the Left in Europe.’
    • ‘Radical feminism emerged from the Left and brought left-wing values of equality to women.’
    • ‘The Left's place, in this conception, is clearly on the side of the victims of the imperial power.’
    • ‘It is against this background that a recomposition and realignment of the Left is taking place.’


  • have two left feet

    • Be clumsy or awkward.

      • ‘Are today's celebrities fleet of foot or do they have two left feet?’
      • ‘And there are dozens of dance schools that guarantee they will turn you into a performer, even if you have two left feet.’
      • ‘I have two left feet when it comes to doing dance moves.’
      • ‘The choreography was all worked out and the dancers had learned their steps, but poor David has two left feet and is tone deaf.’
      • ‘Well I gave it a try and quickly discovered that I had two left feet and my dreams went up in smoke.’
      • ‘If she loves to dance but you have two left feet, visit a dance lesson several times and learn how.’
      • ‘She is wrinkled, she is overweight, and she still has two left feet when it comes to dancing.’
      • ‘Joe was right; Hoss had two left feet when it came to the waltz.’
      • ‘Maybe you've realized you have two left feet, skewed rhythm and zero coordination.’
      • ‘His instructor had claimed with frustration that he had two left feet and Roman couldn't agree more.’
  • left, right, and center (also left and right or right and left)

    • On all sides.

      ‘deals were being done left, right, and center’
      • ‘I have cases left, right, and centre of families that are receiving phone calls from teachers, asking them why their kids are not at school.’
      • ‘I'm turning theatre down left, right, and centre at the moment and I hope my plan pays off.’
      • ‘The show borrows elements from much better shows left, right, and center and comes up with few of its own original ideas.’
      • ‘You already ruled on this when Mr Mallard was on his feet insulting people left, right, and centre.’
      • ‘In a mild winter we are seeing people turning power off left, right, and centre.’
      • ‘Every one of us - left, right, and center - has to be challenged to care for the church as it is, not as we would like it to be.’
      • ‘He was the Minister of Finance who cut funding left, right, and centre.’
      • ‘People in this country are ripping off the taxpayer, left, right, and centre, and this bill provides another loophole.’
      • ‘There will be the defrauding of charities left, right, and centre because those people will be permitted to be on them.’
      • ‘It is another classic example of this Labour Party taxing business left, right, and centre.’


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




Main definitions of left in US English:

: left1left2


  • past and past participle of leave