From wither- + shins, sins, alteration of withersuns (“contrary to the sun's course”, literally “against the sun's”), modelled after Middle Low German weddersins, weddersinnes (“in the opposite direction”), from Middle High German widdersinnes (“in the opposite direction”, literally “contrary to reason”), from wider (“opposite”) + sinnes, genitive of sin (“course”). Compare also Old English wiþersīenes (“backwards, withershins”), Icelandic viðer (“against”), Danish veder, Swedish veder. More at wither, sense.
withershins (not comparable)
- Anti-clockwise, in the contrary direction, especially to the left or opposite to the direction of the sun.
1763, Allan Ramsay, The Gentle Shephard:
- Boils up their Livers in a Warlock's pow, Rins withershins about the Hemlock low