26 April 2012

W is for Widdershins

The advancements of technology are going to cause society to go back to using the word 'widdershins'.

People no longer use watches and rarely use analog clocks.  If you tap your wrist at some younger people, indicating that you want to know the time, they will think that you have a tick or that you are trying to point to something.  And, if you are tapping your wrist, you must not have a cell phone in your pocket or bag, which is an even bigger issue.

It's all about digital.
Original image from cartoonstock.com

A teaching colleague of mine was trying to explain which direction something turned and the high school student had no idea what counter-clockwise or clockwise meant.

Instead he should have used the term widdershins to mean in the contrary direction.

But even with reintroducing this term, will people know what the 'normal' direction is so they can determine the contrary direction?

I know that in track you run counterclockwise, but a colleague of mine told me that horse racing in the US is in a different direction than in Europe, so widdershins to a horse-racing aficionado may mean something different than to a person who watches track or oval-shaped car racing.

I guess, we will have to just stick with it 'in a circle to the right/left' instead of widdershins or counterclockwise.


  1. I never would have thought of this language development in a million years...but that's because I still wear a watch with hands and I only use my normal utilitarian cell phone for emergencies or when I travel. :D


    1. I was asking someone for directions to a location two days ago and they were shocked that I don't have GPS in my car and don't use my phone to give me turn by turn instructions.

      I wonder what other terms are going to possibly become obsolete.


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