Thursday, December 28, 2017

WORDS - odd to the ear

'Widdershins', when I hear that word, or read it, for some reason it brings to mind witchcraft.
Wikipedia tells me that it: a term meaning to go counter-clockwise, to go anti-clockwise, or to go lefthandwise, or to walk around an object by always keeping it on the left. Literally, it means to take a course opposite the apparent motion of the sun viewed from the Northern Hemisphere, (the centre of this imaginary clock is the ground the viewer stands upon). The earliest recorded use of the word, as cited by the Oxford English Dictionary, are from a 1513 translation of the Aeneid, where it is found in the phrase "Abaisit I wolx, and widdersyns start my hair." In this sense, the "to start widdershins" means "to stand on end".
Wiki also goes on to say that
Because the sun played a highly important role in older religions, to go against it was considered bad luck for sun-worshiping traditions....It was considered unlucky in Britain to travel in an anticlockwise (not sunwise) direction around a church, and a number of folk myths make reference to this superstition...

In much the same 'ballpark' as they say in these parts, another odd-sounding word I've come across occasionally in the USA relating to direction: 'cattywampus' meaning misaligned, askew, oblique, diagonal:
"I bumped into the bookcase and now the books are all cattywampus".

Also, somewhat related: cater-corner often corrupted to 'catty-corner' or 'kitty-corner' meaning of, or pertaining to, something at a diagonal to another - diagonally opposite.
"The store is catty-corner to the park."

Quite unrelated to the above, but a nice example of a bit of mind twisting fun with the English language:


Wisewebwoman said...

Love messing with words and that was a new one for me. Well done.


Twilight said...

Wisewebsoman ~ Ta! Yes I like word oddities too.
Regarding the ship-shipping, what I wanted to know is: why doesn't the whole caboodle sink without trace!?