Saturday, December 06, 2008

Spin the Middle Side Topwise

I realize that the words of the week so far have excluded adverbs, and that’s racist. Hence, what’s below.
deasil (DEE-zel) — adverb: clockwise, righthandwards, following the direction of the sun’s movement.
It’s good to know that there’s a rarer, less comprehensible term to shout when you’re advising someone how to solve a Rubik’s cube. Right? Deasil — which seems to be pronounced almost exactly like the name of the fuel, which was named after German mechanical engineer Rudolph Diesel — comes from an Old Irish word that ultimately shares a connection with the Latin dexter, which World Wide Words notes meant “right” but even long ago was already exhibiting the associations with “skillful” and “good” that we have today with dexterous. Deasil compares with the even weirder widdershins, which means “counterclockwise,” “lefthandwards” or simply “in the wrong way.” Both deasil and widdershins have some association with old witchcraft practices, I’m told. And this makes sense, because I imagine certain kinds of spiritualists had right ways and wrongs ways to dance around campfires.

Now go forth and be confusing with your directions.

Previous words of the week:

1 comment:

  1. Terry Pratchett's Discworld books use the term "widdershins" as the direction opposite that in which the world spins. I think there's also a Deasil Gate mentioned at some point.

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