cack-handed

[19] Cack comes from a 15thcentury dialect verb meaning ‘defecate’, which probably came from Middle Dutch cacken. It goes back via Latin cacāre to an ultimate Indo- European base *kak-, from which a lot of other Indo-European languages get words connected with ‘excrement’. The connection with cackhanded is usually explained as being that clumsy people make a mess; on this view ‘left-handed’, which cack-handed also means, is a secondary sense derived from ‘clumsy’. It may be nearer the mark to place ‘left-handed’ first, however, bearing in mind the traditional role of the left hand in many cultures for wiping the anus.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cack-handed — ► ADJECTIVE Brit. informal 1) inept; clumsy. 2) derogatory left handed …   English terms dictionary

  • cack-handed — 1. lacking skill with your hands. Rob made a cack handed attempt to fix the door and now it won t close at all. She doesn t strike me as the practical sort she s a bit cack handed. 2. lacking skill in the way that you deal with people. What… …   New idioms dictionary

  • cack-handed — [19] Cack comes from a 15thcentury dialect verb meaning ‘defecate’, which probably came from Middle Dutch cacken. It goes back via Latin cacāre to an ultimate Indo European base *kak , from which a lot of other Indo European languages get words… …   Word origins

  • cack-handed — adj British clumsy, inept. The term originally meant left handed, probably deriving from the idea of handling cack (excrement). Although the connection seems obvious, this expression is probably too old to be influenced by reports of the Muslim… …   Contemporary slang

  • cack-handed — [[t]kæ̱k hæ̱ndɪd[/t]] ADJ GRADED (disapproval) If you describe someone as cack handed, you mean that they handle things in an awkward or clumsy way. [BRIT, INFORMAL] Liz may be good at her job, but she is cack handed. Syn: clumsy …   English dictionary

  • cack-handed — UK [ˌkækˈhændɪd] / US [kækˈhændəd] adjective British informal someone who is cack handed does not do things in a skilful way and often drops or damages things …   English dictionary

  • cack-handed — cack hand·ed (kăkʹhănʹdĭd) adj. Chiefly British 1. Left handed. 2. Awkward; clumsy.   [Perhaps from Old Norse keikr, bent backwards; akin to Danish keite, left handed.] * * * …   Universalium

  • cack-handed — cack hand|ed [ˌkæk ˈhændıd] adj BrE informal [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: Perhaps from Old Norse keikr bent backwards ] careless and tending to drop things, or badly done = ↑clumsy …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cack-handed — cack hand·ed …   English syllables

  • cack-handed — adj. colloq. 1 awkward, clumsy. 2 left handed. Derivatives: cack handedly adv. cack handedness n. Etymology: dial. cack excrement …   Useful english dictionary


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