Word Geek – Right

Right hand

Last month we looked at the origins of the word ‘left’ and thought it only fitting to look at the origins of the word ‘right’, too. Right handed people, unlike lefties, have had an easy ride throughout history.

History shows that the words for right and left were primarily used to label hands. Although ‘right’ now has other meanings, such as being correct about something or a name for political parties with certain beliefs, these all came from the word referring to being right handed as people believed being right handed was the ‘correct’ way to be.

The word right originates from the Old English word ‘riht’, which meant “good, proper, fitting, straight”. It is also related to the Latin word ‘rectus’ meaning ‘ruled’, itself of Indo-European origins, denoting movement in a straight line.

German and Dutch have a similar evolution of the word for right. ‘Recht’ originates from Old High German ‘reht’ meaning ‘straight, just’. Old High German was the source of the Old English ‘riht”, too.

You can use your left or right hand to get in touch with us at The Language Factory and we’ll be happy to help with any questions you may have. Call us on +44 1727 862722 or email enquiries@thelanguagefactory.co.uk.


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