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Southpaw (was: Re: left and right)

From:Donald Boozer <donaldboozer@...>
Date:Saturday, April 5, 2008, 13:22
From the Online Etymology Dictionary

southpaw: "lefthander," 1885, originally baseball
slang, of pitchers, often said to have been coined by
Finley Peter Dunne ("Mr. Dooley"), Chicago sports
journalist and humorist, in the days when baseball
diamonds were regularly oriented with home plate to
the west. But south paw "a person's left hand" is
attested from 1848 in the slang of pugilism.

Also from the electronic database version of the OED
with the earliest citation being 1848:

1. A person's left hand. (In quot. 1848, a punch or
blow with the left hand.)
1848 Democratic B-hoy, ‘I say, Lewy, give him a
sockdologer!’ ‘Curse the Old Hoss, what a south-paw he
has given me!’ 1885 Sporting Life 14 Jan. 4/3 They had
always been accustomed to having their opponents hug
their bases pretty close, out of respect for Morris'
quick throw over to first with that south-paw of his.
1942 BERREY & VAN DEN BARK Amer. Thes. Slang §121/53
Southpaw, wrong hand or fist, the left hand or fist.
1948 Chicago Tribune 20 Apr. I. 20/5 He waved his big
south~paw and ducked under the roof.

    2. One who pitches or throws with the left hand; a
left-handed person.
  In Boxing, a southpaw leads with his right hand.
1891 Chicago Herald 24 July 6/1 The new
south-paw..came to town yesterday. 1911 Daily Colonist
(Victoria, B.C.) 15 Apr. 8/5 Davis came up to bat...
He faced the twirler right-handed. He always does with
southpaws. 1932 Ring Apr. 5/2 McCoy was a slow
southpaw who had proved just a good workout for Joe
Chip. 1942 BERREY & VAN DEN BARK Amer. Thes. Slang
§430/10 Left-handed person,..south-paw. 1947 J.
GUNTHER Inside U.S.A. xl. 657 Ah won't even go to the
Polo Grounds unless a southpaw's pitchin'. 1951 Sport
6-12 Apr. 8/2 On the same bill, Joe Lucy, the young
southpaw, meets South African lightweight Gerald
Dreyer. 1955 Sci. News Let. 14 May 310/2 The family
cat may have a preferred paw.., and pussy is most
often a southpaw when she is not ambidextrous. 1959
Sunday Times 8 Nov. 32/6 In the ball parks all over
the United States the so-called ‘diamond’, formed by
the track between the bases, is always oriented to the
same points of the compass, so that in whatever park a
team is playing the pitcher on his mound will always
have his right hand on the north side of his body;
hence a left-hander is a ‘southpaw’. 1967 Boston
Sunday Herald 26 Mar. II. 7/1 Rocket Rod Laver leads
the greatest tennis show on earth into Boston Garden
Monday night... The freckle-faced southpaw is the
top-seeded player. 1970 H. MCLEAVE Question of
Negligence (1973) vi. 48 ‘Nobody told me he was a
southpaw.’ Even the psychiatrist had..forgotten that
the surgeon cut with his left hand. 1976 Billings
(Montana) Gaz. 26 June 1-B/2 The 6-0 lefthander, the
only southpaw listed on the Angels' roster, struck out
six and walked the same number. 1976 ‘A. BURGESS’
Beard's Roman Women (1977) v. 110 Donatella, a
south~paw, animated this [sc. her left shoulder-blade]
while lifting the one remaining chair from the front
room. 1978 M. KENYON Deep Pocket ix. 103 He wore
shorts and boxing gloves. ‘'E's a southpaw,’ Peckover

    3. attrib. or as adj. Left-handed; also transf.,
left-footed, and fig.
1891 Cricket 29 Oct. 463/1 The Germantown man returned
the ball like a flash to the wicket, and the
‘south-paw’ batsman was run out. 1932 J. T. FARRELL
Young Lonigan iii. 126 It was swell for Studs to
play,..knowing he had made that good kick, run
back and pick one of Helen's southpaw kicks out of the
air. 1949 Sun (Baltimore) 3 June 18/8 They would have
been bunched against southpaw pitching. 1957 R.
WATSON-WATT Three Steps to Victory xliii. 245 This
was, however, a south-paw kind of compliment. 1969 New
Scientist 6 Nov. 277/2 Jack Bodell has just become the
first south~paw heavyweight champion in British boxing

    Hence {sm}southpaw v. trans., to pitch with the
left hand; {sm}southpawing vbl. n., the action of
pitching with the left hand.
1928 Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Okla.) 12 Apr. 8/1
Herb Pennock southpawed his way the route for the
Yankees. 1938 Chicago Tribune 4 Apr. 21/1 The White
Sox positively refused to be awed today by the
south~pawing of Larry French. 1951 Sun (Baltimore) 23
Aug. 20/1 Jim Burns southpawed his eighth straight triumph.

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