40 Interesting Facts About . . .
Left-Handedness & Left-Handed People
1. Between 10-12% of people on earth are “lefties.” Women are more likely to be right-handed than men. 2. August 13th is “Left-Hander’s Day.” Launched in 1996, this yearly event celebrates left-handedness and raises awareness of the difficulties and frustrations left-handers experience every day in a world designed for right-handers. 3. Many sources claim that left-handers may die as many as nine years earlier than right-handers. 4. The word left in English comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means weak or broken. The Oxford English Dictionary defines left-handed as meaning crippled, defective, awkward, clumsy, inapt, characterized by underhanded dealings, ambiguous, doubtful, questionable, ill-omened, inauspicious, and illegitimate. 5. Tests conducted by St. Lawrence University in New York found that there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Famous left-handed intellectuals include Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin. 6. Mothers who are over 40 at the time of a child’s birth are 128% more likely to have a left-handed baby than a woman in her 20s.b 7. The German for “left-handed’ is linkisch, which means awkward, clumsy, and maladroit. In Italian, the word is mancino, which is derived from “crooked” or “maimed” (mancus) and is also used to mean deceitful or dishonest. In Russian, to be called a left-hander (levja) is a term of insult. 8. Among the Eskimos, every left-handed person is viewed as a potential sorcerer. In Morocco, left-handers are considered to be a s’ga, a word that means either a devil or a cursed person. 9. The Incas thought left-handers were capable of healing and that they possessed magical abilities. The North American Zuni tribe believed left-handedness signified good luck. 10. Herbert Hoover is believed to be the first left-handed president, though James Garfield could write Greek with the left hand and Latin with the right. 11. Research indicates that left-handers are more likely to become alcoholics, schizophrenic, delinquent, and dyslexic. They are also more likely to have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or mental disabilities. 12. Many artistic representations of the devil show him to be left-handed. 13. The Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper, and Osama Bin Laden were lefties. 14. In witchcraft texts in medieval Europe, it was the left hand that was used to harm or curse another person. To affect a curse, witches were instructed to silently touch the recipient with the left hand, which would convey the curse. Additionally, the devil supposedly gives the gathering a benediction with the left hand, as opposed to the right-handed blessing of the Christian church. He would also baptize or anoint with his left hand. 15. Both the Jewish and Christian traditions are strongly right-handed in their nature and practices. For Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians, and other denominations, the priest must present the communion wafer with the right hand, and the communicant accepts it with the right hand. All benedictions must be made with the right hand, and a priest symbolizes the “strong right hand of God.” 16. Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides (A.D. 1135-1204) listed 100 blemishes a Jewish priest could not have, and being left-handed was one of them. 17. The right hand is mentioned positively 100 times in the Bible, while the left hand is mentioned only 25 times, all negatively. 18. In many Islamic countries, people are forbidden to eat with their left hand, which is considered “unclean” because it is used for cleaning the body after defecation. Additionally, “public display” or use of the left hand is against the law in some Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia. 19. Although approximately 90% of all humans are right-handed. 20. Left-handedness has also been called mancinism, sinistromanuality, and...
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