The Mandarin Chinese character for left is 左 (pronounced zuǒ). It is composed of two elements - the radical 工 (gōng - meaning worker or work) and a stylized version of the character for hand - 手 (shǒu).
The character 工 is a pictograph representing a carpenter's square. So you could interpret 左 as a left hand holding a square.
Compare this character with 右 (yòu), which means right. Both of these characters depict a hand, in the case of 右 combined with a mouth, which reminds us that it is common to eat with the right hand.
Mandarin Vocabulary With Zuǒ
|Traditional Characters||Simplified Characters||Pinyin||English|
|左邊||左边||zuǒ biān||left (side)|
|左輪手槍||左轮手枪||zuǒ lún shǒu qiāng||revolver|
|左右||左右||zuǒ yòu||about; approximately; left and right; around|
|左面||左面||zuǒ miàn||left side of something|
|左右勾拳||左右勾拳||zuǒ yòu gōu quán||the old one-two; a left and a right hook|
|相左||相左||xiāngzuǒ||to be at right angles|