I'm looking for the correct term for a right-handed person's right hand, and a left-handed person's left hand, and same for their other hand, where one term signifies one's "primary" hand, and the other one's "secondary" hand.

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    I voted for "dominant hand", but you may also refer to "preferential hand". For the opposite, "non-dominant hand" fits. – Graffito Apr 26 '16 at 12:58
  • "dominant" takes the cake in my book but I wonder if you could describe a perfectly ambidextrous person this way? In this context, my understanding is that dominant would mean that nothing is equal nor better. – MonkeyZeus Apr 26 '16 at 13:33
  • @MonkeyZeus Someone who is perfectly ambidextrous does not fit within the question's scope anyway, they don't have a primary/secondary hand distinction. – JAB Apr 26 '16 at 16:18
  • 21 upvotes for the top answer and only 4 for OP? Come on English.SE... – user1717828 Apr 26 '16 at 17:23
  • Maybe it's somewhat of a stupid question :-) – Wouter Lievens Apr 26 '16 at 17:49

The "primary" hand is generally called dominant.

Dominant hand

Operant hand generally used for performing fine motor-skills tasks (e.g., writing, holding dental instruments)

Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012 via TFD

From that, I would surmise subordinate hand for the other one.

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    I usually hear "non-dominant hand" as the alternative. – Devsman Apr 26 '16 at 14:00
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    I would say that your speculation is just wrong: subordinate hand is almost never used. – 200_success Apr 26 '16 at 16:56
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    As per @PhilSweet's answer below, "off hand" or "weak hand" are commonly used for the non-dominant hand. While "subordinate" technically works, the word is more commonly used to indicate hierarchy or control (e.g. boss/subordinates), and the dominant hand generally exerts no direct control over the off hand. – Doktor J Apr 26 '16 at 20:11

The non-dominant hand is commonly called the off hand. Also the weak hand. See any combat arts forum.


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