widdershins

play
adverb wid·der·shins \ˈwi-dər-shənz\
variants: or less commonly

play \ˈwi-thər-shənz\

Definition of widdershins

  1. :  in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction :  counterclockwise — compare deasil

widdershins was our Word of the Day on 04/10/2017. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Legend holds that demons always approached the devil widdershins. Not surprisingly, such a path was considered evil and unlucky. By the mid-1500s, English speakers had adopted "widdershins," (from the Old High German widar, meaning "back" or "against," and sinnen, meaning "to travel") for anything following a path opposite to the direction the sun travels across the sky (that is, counterclockwise). But in its earliest known uses "widdershins" was far less malignant; it was used simply to describe a case of bad hair in which unruly locks stood on end or fell the wrong way.

Origin and Etymology of widdershins

Middle Low German weddersinnes, from Middle High German widersinnes, from widersinnen to go against, from wider back against (from Old High German widar) + sinnen to travel, go; akin to Old High German sendan to send — more at with, send


First Known Use: 1545


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