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‘Avoir deux mains gauches’: Our French expression of the week

This week sees the Journée nationale des gauchers - we look at a phrase linked to being left-handed

We look at the phrase ‘avoir deux mains gauches’ Pic: Tatyana Aksenova / Shutterstock

This Thursday is France’s Journée nationale des gauchers (National Left-handers Day), which normally falls on the same day as the equivalent international event. 

Read more: What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

In French, the word ‘gaucher’ is used to refer to someone who is left-handed, who writes with their main gauche (left hand).

We looked at a French expression linked to being left-handed. 

Avoir deux mains gauches’ (to have two left hands) could be translated as ‘to be all thumbs’ or ‘to be very clumsy’. 

Around 85% of people in France are right-handed, and therefore find it hardest to do things with their left hand. 

Having two left hands would thus make it trickier to do things requiring dexterity, and would make the person more clumsy. 

The word ‘gauche’ also means ‘awkward’ or ‘clumsy’, which reinforces the idea of being unable to carry out delicate tasks.

However, for the left-handers being celebrated on Thursday, perhaps having two left hands might actually be helpful. 

Related articles 

‘Un soleil de plomb’: Our French expression of the week

Chacun voit midi à sa porte’: our French phrase of the week

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