Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

WIDDERSHINS II

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

WIDDERSHINS II

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:02 am

• widdershins •

Pronunciation: wid-êr-shinz • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adverb

Meaning: 1. Moving in a direction opposite the usual. 2. Moving counterclockwise or contrary to the course of the sun, considered bad luck by those who believe in the occult. 3. Unlucky, cursed, ill-fated.

Notes: Today's Good Word may be a bad version of withershins, its alternative spelling and pronunciation. The Oxford English Dictionary, in fact, prefers <i>withershins</i>. You may use either to indicate hair standing on end: "The presence of the dog sent the cat's hair widdershins." You can make this adverb into an adjective by simply removing the [s]: the widdershin hair of the cat.

In Play: As a predicate adjective, however, the [s] is sometimes left on. D. H. Lawrence wrote in Plumed Serpent (1926) "She made up her mind to be alone, and to cut herself off from all the mechanical widdershin contacts . . . He, too, was widdershins, unwinding the sensations of disintegration and anti-life." Today's word is another wonderword from bonnie auld Kiltland that deserves wider recognition. Look for niches in your conversations where you can tuck it in: "This has been one of those days when I feel that I have been walking widdershins up an escalator."

Word History: Today's word goes back to old Germanic weddersinnes, based on wider "back" or wither "reverse" + the genitive case of sin "way, direction". Widder and wither are akin to German wider "against" and wieder "again". Sin is related to Latin sentire "sense, feel", derived from the original root *sent- "go in or choose a direction". We borrowed sense from the noun of this verb. The same root also gave us send "to cause someone to go in a direction". (Katy Brezger is never widdershins when she suggests a fascinating word like this in the Agora.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3491
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:28 am

Really fascinating. I used it yesterday in a conversation in Portuguese and of course I had to explain it.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Oct 30, 2005 6:53 am

Which was, perhaps, the point of the exercise ?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE

Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:25 am

I don't remember anymore, but the guy liked the word, too.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:31 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:I don't remember anymore, ...


Sounds like Ms Miller and her notes....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests