Listening just now to a radio report of the counter-clockwise spinning Irene hurricane called to mind a night some years ago when I was lost in the Surrey darkness, trying to find the house of an English friend. My friend called me and said that I had made a mistake by turning left at the ring road, where I should have instead traveled “anti-clockwise”.
I was surprised at the term, which I had never heard before. Its meaning is transparent on its face, but what threw me off was that my friend didn’t use my mother’s word “widdershins”, which I knew came from her UK ancestors. To them, widdershins meant particularly walking around the outside of a church with the wall always to one’s left, which could bring the devil’s curse of bad luck.
I later learned that the word was apparently specific to the Scottish regions of my mother’s family, and never took hold in England. If you want to give “widdershins” a whirl so to speak, conversations about Irene today give you your chance.