Or anti-clockwise direction. I want to contrast the difference between the order in which the Japanese say the cardinal directions, compared to the order Western countries say them. They say 'east west south north'. Personally, I think of this mode of thought as dimensional. But our mode of thought involves starting from a fixed point (north) and then listing the directions going in a clockwise direction. Is there an adjective which describes this?

  • 1
    Dextral and Sinistral. – Joe Dark Dec 24 '14 at 12:06
  • @JoeDark What do you understand by Dextral and Sinistral? – Kris Dec 24 '14 at 12:52
  • 1
    Our mode of thought? Not everyone who speaks English thinks the same way as you. For me it's North South East West. – andy256 Dec 24 '14 at 13:03
  • For what it’s worth, I believe the Japanese took over this order from the Chinese, and that the order is in fact the exact same as ours: top, bottom, right, left. Old Chinese maps had East at the top, not North. Similarly, where we would say a road runs east-west (right-left) or north-south (top-bottom), the Chinese and Japanese would say that it runs east-west (top-bottom) or south-north (right-left). And of course, @andy256’s point stands: I have personally never heard anyone say “north east south west” in any language. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 24 '14 at 13:04

Synonyms for clockwise and anti-clockwise (counter-clockwise to us Americans) include deasil and widdershins respectively, which have Celtic and ritual roots and associations.

  • I'm not looking for a synonym of clockwise; clockwise is an adverb, whereas I'm looking for an adjective. – Lou Dec 24 '14 at 12:09
  • 2
    @LeoKing Look no further than your own headline and first line then, where you have used clockwise and anti-clockwise (correctly) as adjectives. – Brian Donovan Dec 24 '14 at 12:54

Dextrorotary adj., rotating to the right


Actually, we refer to compass points in more of a cross-wise configuration - otherwise it would sound like you were saying Northeast and Southwest. Maybe, "Oppositionally designated , beginning north to south, then east to west."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.