The article is making a comparative analysis of word left in four Slavic languages – Czech, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian. “Left“ is analysed as an independent word, in compound words and as a component of idioms. Full and partial equvalents and lacunae are mentioned. New meaning which appeared in the period since the end of 20th century to beggining of 21st century is defined – „intentionally violating the law in order to earn money illegally“ (левый товар, левые заработки, левые услуги). Rise in number of idioms with „left“ component, which characterises „shadow economy“ is a proof of active language reaction to contemporary social-economic changes.
Keywords: comparative analysis, left, Slavic languages, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, Czech, phraseological, lacunae, "gray"economy