- Fizzy Thoughts: Use this word in a sentence

Use this word in a sentence

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm currently reading Three Junes and I came across a new word, one I couldn't even figure out in context.

"Sailors in Greece," she says, probably go by different rules."
Jack nods. "All the rules are different. It's a turned-around place."
"Widdershins," says Fern. "Like in the fairy tales."


So off I went to dictionary.com, which had this to offer:

wid·der·shins (wĭd'ər-shĭnz')
adv. In a contrary or counterclockwise direction: "The coracle whirled round, clockwise, then widdershins" (Anthony Bailey).

And wikipedia, which has this to say:

Widdershins (sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) is a word which (usually) means counterclockwise. However, in certain circumstances it can be used to refer to a direction which is against the light, i.e. where you are unable to see your shadow. It is cognate with the German language widersinnig, i.e., "against" + "sense". The term "widdershins" was especially common in Lowland Scots, and was known in Scottish Gaelic as tuathal, which uses the same root as tuath meaning "north", the opposite of widdershins is deiseil or sunwise. In the southern hemisphere, the sun goes anti-clockwise, but in the northern hemisphere, it goes clockwise, which is where the term "sunwise" originates from. Because the sun played a highly important role in primitive religion, to go against it was considered very bad luck for sun-venerating traditions.

Huh. It's a very cool word, but not one I think I'll casually be dropping into conversation anytime soon.

2 comment(s):

lisamm said...

Well that's one I've never seen! Hope you're enjoying the book so far.

Jill S. said...

Someone who loves books as much as I do, yay! Enjoyed your blog.

Thanks for visiting mine, hope to see you back again soon!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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