Meaning of dextral in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdɛkstr(ə)l/

See synonyms for dextral on


  • 1Of or on the right side or the right hand.

    The opposite of sinistral

    ‘Commonly there is a partitioning of sinistral and dextral criteria on alternate horizons, but horizons occur where both senses coexist.’
    • ‘Zhang noted that both sinistral and dextral Pa and Pb elements differed entirely.’
    • ‘It is interesting to speculate why most screw threads are dextral and only a relatively small number are sinistral threads.’
    • ‘The patient had open fractures of shin bones, dextral pleuropneumonia (mild case), foreign bodies in chest cavity and chest.’
    • ‘The preference for dextral threads certainly goes back to the unrecorded past.’
    1. 1.1Right-handed.
      ‘Rather, one form of the gene, which we may call D for dextral, may code for right-handedness, while the other allele, which we may call C for chance, leaves the direction of handedness to chance.’
      • ‘Although sinistral individuals are known in many normally dextral species, left-handedness as a characteristic of species is rare in most gastropod clades.’
    2. 1.2Geology Relating to or denoting a strike-slip fault in which the motion of the block on the further side of the fault from an observer is towards the right.
      ‘In fact, Aleksandrowski et al proposed that the complex was originally contiguous with the Northern Phyllite Zone in Germany and that dextral strike-slip fault movement translated this region southeastward to its present position.’
      • ‘In this interpretation, the Troodos ophiolite formed to the east (in its current orientation) of a ridge-transform ridge intersection, in which the transform had a dextral offset and sinistral slip.’
      • ‘In the northern Musgrave Block the Petermann Orogeny generated large-scale east-west-trending shear zones that accommodated dextral strike-slip and north- and south-directed thrusting.’
      • ‘The Murzinka-Adui Metamorphic Complex to the SE of the Salda Complex is separated from the latter by the Petrokamensk Arc and the Sisert dextral strike-slip fault.’
      • ‘It is commonly assumed that the Stanovoy sinistral shear zone and the Sakhalin-Hokkaido dextral shear zone in NE Asia are two conjugate strike-slip faults related to the India-Eurasia collision.’
    3. 1.3Zoology (of a spiral mollusc shell) with whorls rising to the right and coiling in an anticlockwise direction.
      ‘There are dextral species, sinistral species, and a variable species (P. suturalis-see below) all within the same genus.’
      • ‘In plan view, several specimens show minor changes in the generally linear orientation with either a sinistral or a dextral turn.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, sinistral and dextral Pb elements are virtually mirror images, that is, they are more alike than the corresponding elements in L. variabilis.’
      • ‘Sinistral individuals in normally dextral populations often deviate slightly in shell form from wild-type dextrals, perhaps implying that the left-handed condition has small deleterious side effects.’
      • ‘So the spiral of the operculum of a dextral (right-handed) snail is invariably counterclockwise, while that of a sinistral shell is the opposite.’


  • A right-handed person.

    • ‘The five superfamilies shown in Figure 2 depict the five kinds of clade found with respect to the occurrence of sinistrals and dextrals: sinistrals only; majority sinistral; very heterogeneous; majority dextral; dextrals only.’


Mid 17th century from medieval Latin dextralis, from Latin dextra ‘the right hand’, from dexter ‘on the right’.