ambidextrous (adj.)

Actually I wanted to follow up with another very nice alliteration that I heard this week. But I will save it for another week.

I rather think it is time, however, to introduce the first juggling related piece of vocabulary here. It is a word from ordinary language, which is saying a lot because juggling has, in a very literal sense, a language of its own, namely an artificial formal notation for writing down juggling patterns. But I will not trouble you with that. Yet.

Even though ambidextrous sounds complicated it is actually quite straightforward. The etymology is Latin: ambi: both and dexter: right-handed. If you are ambidextrous you are right-handed with both hands. There exists a rarely used opposite: ambilevous, which is an upscale synonym of clumsy.

Ambidextrousness (and even ambidexterity) is a very useful quality for any juggler. If you are able to perform any juggling pattern or any juggling trick with both hands equally well, your juggling skills, especially your ability to combine moves seamlessly, increase exponentially. Some jugglers even go so far as to learn and practice every trick with their inferior hand first, believing that then the dominant hand will pick it up even faster.

Not every juggler, however, would go as far as Pavel of the Flying Karamazow Brothers, who is quoted in the rec.juggling newsgroup as having said, “I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous.”

ambidextrous at

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