Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey

Meaning

What does Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey mean?

Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey (or lefty-loosey, righty-tighty) is a catchphrase and a sort-of nursery rhyme designed for educational purposes.

The goal of the rhyme is to help recall the mechanics of a conventional screw, bolt, or nut that operates with threads.

When rotating a screw clockwise (right-way), it tightens. When rotating it counterclockwise (left-way), it loosens. Hence the rhyme.

Origin

What's the origin of Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey?

The exact origin of the expression is currently unclear.

According to redditor u/logantauranga, the direction for turning wood screws to tighten them was formalized in England in the late 18th century, which was when wood screws were first mass-produced.

This would indicate that the expression was coined subsequently to the 18th century.

Spread & Usage

How did Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey spread?

It is such a universal and well-recognized expression that it really did not need a platform to spread on. It is used as a generic advice in the most basic fields of mechanical engineering and workmanship.

Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey often appears in pop-culture as well, like in the 1983 film Fandango, which features Kevin Costner in his first leading role. A dialogue features a character saying: “The other way, bud. Remember, it’s lefty-loosey, righty-tighty.”

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