Skip to main content
Select Source:

sinister

sinister originally (in late Middle English) sinister meant ‘malicious, underhand’; in the late 16th century, the sense of ‘inauspicious, unfavourable’ developed, especially as denoting omens seen on the left hand, which was regarded as the unlucky side. From this in turn developed the current sense, giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen.

In heraldry, of, on, or towards the left-hand side (in a coat of arms, from the bearer's point of view, i.e. the right as it is depicted); the opposite of dexter.

See also bend sinister.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sinister." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sinister." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister

"sinister." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister

sinister

sin·is·ter / ˈsinistər/ • adj. 1. giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen: there was something sinister about that murmuring voice. ∎  wicked or criminal. 2. archaic & Heraldry of, on, or toward the left-hand side (in a coat of arms, from the bearer's point of view, i.e., the right as it is depicted). The opposite of dexter1 . DERIVATIVES: sin·is·ter·ly adv. sin·is·ter·ness n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sinister." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sinister." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister-1

"sinister." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister-1

sinister

sinister
A. marked by †ill-will, †suspicion, dishonesty XV; unlucky, unfavourable XVI;

B. situated ON, or directed to, the left side (spec. her.) XV. — (O)F. sinistre or L. sinister left.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sinister." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sinister." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister-2

"sinister." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister-2

sinister

sinisterbitter, committer, critter, embitter, emitter, fitter, flitter, fritter, glitter, gritter, hitter, jitter, knitter, litter, permitter, pitta, quitter, remitter, sitter, skitter, slitter, spitter, splitter, submitter, titter, transmitter, twitter, witter •drifter, grifter, lifter, shifter, sifter, snifter, uplifter •constrictor, contradictor, depicter, dicta, evictor, inflicter, predictor, victor •filter, kilter, philtre (US philter), quilter, tilter •Jacinta, midwinter, Minter, Pinta, Pinter, printer, splinter, sprinter, tinter, winter •sphincter •assister, ballista, bistre (US bister), blister, enlister, glister, lister, mister, resistor, Sandinista, sister, transistor, tryster, twister, vista •trickster •minster, spinster •hipster, quipster, tipster •cohabiter • arbiter • presbyter •exhibitor, inhibitor, prohibiter •Manchester • Chichester • Silchester •Rochester • Colchester •creditor, editor, subeditor •auditor • Perdita • taffeta • shopfitter •forfeiter • outfitter • counterfeiter •register • marketer •cricketer, picketer •Alistair • weightlifter • filleter •fillister • shoplifter •diameter, heptameter, hexameter, parameter, pentameter, tetrameter •Axminster • Westminster •limiter, perimeter, scimitar, velocimeter •accelerometer, anemometer, barometer, gasometer, geometer, manometer, micrometer, milometer, olfactometer, optometer, pedometer, photometer, pyrometer, speedometer, swingometer, tachometer, thermometer •Kidderminster • janitor •banister, canister •primogenitor, progenitor, senator •administer, maladminister, minister, sinister •monitor • per capita • carpenter •spanakopita • Jupiter • trumpeter •character • barrister • ferreter •teleprinter •chorister, forester •interpreter, misinterpreter •capacitor • ancestor • Exeter •stepsister •elicitor, solicitor •babysitter • house-sitter • bullshitter •competitor • catheter • harvester •riveter • banqueter • non sequitur •loquitur •inquisitor, visitor •compositor, expositor

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sinister." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sinister." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister-0

"sinister." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sinister-0