Definitions

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

  • adv. Variant of widdershins.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Anti-clockwise, in the contrary direction, especially to the left or opposite to the direction of the sun.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In the opposite direction; hence, in the wrong way.

Etymologies

From wither- +‎ shins, sins, alteration of withersuns ("contrary to the sun's course", literally "against the sun's"), modelled after Middle Low German, weddersins, weddersinnes ("in the opposite direction"), from Middle High German widdersinnes ("in the opposite direction", literally "contrary to reason"), from wider ("opposite") + sinnes (genitive of sin ("course")). Compare also Old English wiþersīenes ("backwards, withershins"), Icelandic viðer ("against"), Danish and Swedish veder. More at wither, sense. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Arrived at the kirk, they paced around it withershins, that is, in reverse of the apparent motion of the sun.

    Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions — Volume 2

  • Then as you go round the arches, "withershins" against the sun (in which way lucky progression has always been made in sacred places), there pass you one after the other the epochs of the

    Hills and the Sea

  • I will be grateful to her for ever, and my gratitude is only increased by the certainty that the withershins of anxious, unthinking PC will never know anything like it.

    In the news in Pompeii

  • To go round a person in the opposite direction, or withershins (German wider-shins), is unlucky, and a sort of incantation.

    Waverley

  • For each group of arches come later than the last in the order of sculpture, and the sculptors during those 300 years went withershins as should you.

    Hills and the Sea

  • My love then and his bonny ship turn’d withershins about.

    The Lowlands o' Holland

  • My love then and his bonnie ship turn'd withershins about.

    Lowlands of Holland 6

  • Osberne made up toward the door, but the carline put forth her hand and thrust him back, and said: "Not yet; abide where thou art a minute;" and straightway fell to going withershins round the house.

    The Sundering Flood

  • To move against the sun was improper and productive of evil consequences, and the name given to this direction of movement was _withershins_.

    Folk Lore Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland within This Century

  • He was popularly credited with assisting, in this disguise, in the instruction of a novice into the mysteries of Freemasonry, and was supposed to allow the novice to ride on his back, and go withershins three times round the room.

    Folk Lore Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland within This Century

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