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Pedants' corner

when did right start meaning correct

4 replies

SaucyMare · 10/02/2015 14:02

i have been thinking about this and gauche (left) meaning bad.
my word of the day today is maladroit (clumsy), so not right being another bad word.

maladroit is 1685, so can anyone go earlier.
I am hoping somebody has paid for the OED website (i was expecting £40 HOW MUCH....)

OP posts:
TeenAndTween · 10/02/2015 14:23

You can go right back to the Latin I would think:
sinister - left
dexter - right - dexterous

PiratePanda · 10/02/2015 14:31

A long way back. The cognate word in Persian, a distantly related Indo-European language, is rast (with a long aaaah) - it means both right, as in right hand, and correct. Can also mean straight, true, etc.

SaucyMare · 10/02/2015 14:33

so the whole world has been anti-left for... well always.
I love this section of the board.

OP posts:
prism · 14/02/2015 17:52

I have the OED (ye olde paper edition), and wading through the 6 and a half pages of small text it devotes to the word "right", the best answer ("agreeing with some standard or principle") seems to be attributed earliest to King Alfred in 888.

I can also reveal that "Mr Right" was coined in a story called The Baddington Peerage in 1860.

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