Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. In a contrary or counterclockwise direction: "The coracle whirled round, clockwise, then widdershins” ( Anthony Bailey).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. The wrong way.
  • adv. Anticlockwise, counter-clockwise.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • See withershins.

Etymologies

Middle Low German weddersinnes, from Middle High German widersinnes : wider, back (from Old High German widar; see wi- in Indo-European roots) + sinnes, in the direction of (from sin, direction, from Old High German; see sent- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Low German weddersins, weddersinnes, from Middle High German widersinnes, from wider- ("wither-") + genitive of sin ("direction, way"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • We move naturally in a circle around the grave, going to the left, facing outward—what we call widdershins.

    Breath

  • Move clockwise, called deosil, to charge up with energy, and move counterclockwise, called widdershins, to banish energy!

    Where To Park Your Broomstick

  • More interestingly, the old (especially Scottish) word widdershins or withershins, etymologically suggesting ` a contrary direction, 'similarly refers to a movement against the apparent course of the sun and therefore considered unlucky or unnatural.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIII No 1

  • I can't remember the last time I heard the word "widdershins" outside of a fairy tale, but reading it had a big impact on how I read the novel and read the characters.

    Truth and Consequences

  • Plus, you know, it's just fun to say "widdershins" over and over.

    Monday TV stuff

  • As the dancers faced outwards, this would mean that they moved 'widdershins', i.e. against the sun.

    The Witch-cult in Western Europe A Study in Anthropology

  • House, that is walking "widdershins" or "against the sun" ( "with the sun" being like the movement of a watch).

    Arabian nights. English

  • To cast a successful love spell, he says, one must circle such trees "widdershins"

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • The stingy butter fell a bit over the shelf and I stayed just widdershins to the beam and flipped my nossly nossler, not before a couple turns of the head, mind you.

    Magic X

  • Sometimes he walked clockwise into Bayswater, down to the Bayswater Road and home again, sometimes widdershins, in a loop up to Campden Hill and back to the high street.

    Portobello

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