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withershins


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[MidHGer. widersinnes, counter-course].

To take a course opposite that of the sun, i.e. counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, building, monument by always keeping it on the left. A journey begun with such a turn is thought either unlucky or given to evil intentions in much of Celtic literature, as it is in much of older European popular tradition. In English, however, the belief is so uncommon that our only word for it, withershins, comes from Scottish regional usage. Cf. the antonym, SUNWISE TURN. OIr. túaithbel; ModIr. tuathal; ScG tuathal; Manx dy kiuttagh.

Subjects: Religion.


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