withershins

[ with-er-shinz ]
/ ˈwɪð ərˌʃɪnz /

adverb Chiefly Scot.

in a direction contrary to the natural one, especially contrary to the apparent course of the sun or counterclockwise: considered as unlucky or causing disaster.

QUIZZES

HEED THE VOX POPULI, AND TAKE THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

Test your memory on these verbal firecrackers from the week of June 29 to July 5!
Question 1 of 7
anchorite
Also wid·der·shins [wid-er-shinz] /ˈwɪd ərˌʃɪnz/.
Compare deasil.

Origin of withershins

1505–15; < Middle Low German weddersin(ne)s < Middle High German widdersinnes, equivalent to wider (Old High German widar) opposite (see with) + sinnes, genitive of sin way, course (cognate with Old English sīth); see send1, -s1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for widdershins

  • Once he built a small outdoor fire and walked around it, widdershins, for several minutes.

    Wizard|Laurence Mark Janifer (AKA Larry M. Harris)
  • That was the wrong way round—the unlucky, uncanonical direction; the evil way, widdershins, the opposite of sunwise.

    Hilda Wade|Grant Allen

British Dictionary definitions for widdershins (1 of 2)

widdershins
/ (ˈwɪdəˌʃɪnz, Scottish ˈwɪdər-) /

adverb

mainly Scot a variant spelling of withershins

British Dictionary definitions for widdershins (2 of 2)

withershins

widdershins

/ (ˈwɪðəˌʃɪnz, Scottish ˈwɪðər-) /

adverb mainly Scot

in the direction contrary to the apparent course of the sun; anticlockwise
in a direction contrary to the usual; in the wrong directionCompare deasil

Word Origin for withershins

C16: from Middle Low German weddersinnes, from Middle High German, literally: opposite course, from wider against + sinnes, genitive of sin course
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012