Thursday, 13 January 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 12/1/11

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. It's hosted by Kathy at bermudaonion.
I only have one word this week but it's a cracker- widdershins. From Pond Magic by Angela Sunde- a clever, rather modern kids book where the main character is trying to undo a spell that is turning her into a frog. She uses an online translator to translate a spell from French into English. The first line is translated:
Looking-glass widdershins the turn
The meaning is given to us rather promptly within the text 
'Widdershins? That's not English.'
'It means anti-clockwise.' said Lily. 
My Shorter Oxford defines it (originally from Scotland)
1. In a direction opposite to the usual one; the wrong way round.
2. In a direction contrary to the apparent course of the sun (considered unlucky or associated with occult rites); anticlockwise
Cool. I'm going to try to drop it into conversation sometime soon, so beware. 


bermudaonion said...

I love widdershins and I'm sure I would get some very strange looks if I ever tried to use it. Thanks for participating!

Kath Lockett said...

LOVE that word! Sapphire could have said it when she went iceskating yesterday. "Now to change direction - widdershins!"

My all time favourite word was discovered in 1983 when I was in a play. One character was called a Pusilanimous Poltroon. I still use it to this day (cowardly idiot).

Louise said...

Kathy, I'm sure you'd enjoy using widdershins, I know I'm looking forward to using it some day (soon). I'm enjoying the meme so much. It's making me think about words that I read and don't quite know differently, to consider them more, and look them up. I hope to keep participating, and get to do it more regularly.

Kath- that makes it sound quite Arthur Ransome- let's have some pemmican and go widdershins.

Louise said...

I stumbled across a novel called Widdershins the other day and nearly laughed out loud. I had to struggle not to buy it even though it was monstrously thick and rather outside my normal readings.