Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey


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.


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.”

External resources

More interesting stuff

1 thought on “Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey”

  1. Right and left make no sense at all when referring to rotation. No engineer made that up.

    Clockwise or counter clockwise do not have a a left or right direction.

    The term only makes sense if you were referring to a cars steering wheel. To turn a car to the Right you need to rotate the steering wheel clockwise and to turn left you turn it counter clockwise. Its a conversion term.
    Right = Tight = which way do you turn a cars wheel to go right? = the direction to tighten most screws.


Leave a Comment