I'm trying to express 'clockwise' and 'anti-clockwise' in Latin, for which there are not likely to be classical precedents.

Other languages generally seem to lack such brief and simple expressions : in German and French, for example, it's necessary to employ phrases using the movement of a clock's hands, which in comparison with the English feel long and clumsy. In Russian it's a little neater, по часовой стрелке 'arrow of time', comparable with modo solarii, 'in the same way as the sundial'.

I suppose modo solarii works after a fashion, but it's somehow unsatisfying. Can anyone suggest something better?

  • I'm not an expert at Latin in any way and by all means I don't even study, speak or read or anything. I only landed here because I found the question interesting. Anyways... I could believe there is no such equivalent to the expressions because they didn't have clocks like we do. Maybe?!?! :) – Desorder Mar 15 '18 at 0:35

Dextro(ve)rsum for clockwise and sinistro(ve)rsum for counter/anticlockwise are accepted in a number of scientific fields (e.g. physics, botanic.) Their respective meaning, stricto sensu, is to the right (or left.)

The association between to the right and a clockwise movement seems old and hard to document. Present day explanations include a natural trend to observe the movement from the top and the fact that clocks descend from sundials, which in the northern hemisphere cast shadows that move both to the right and clockwise.

  • 1
    Thank you. This is entirely in sympathy with English terms such as right-hand thread and suits my purpose exactly. – Tom Cotton Mar 20 '18 at 15:12

In botanical Latin, the following terms are used:

  • helicte - clockwise

  • antihelicte - counter-clockwise

  • These are good suggestions, and very tempting, but too close to the English helical, with an underlying implication that does not suit my present problem. Thank you, anyway! – Tom Cotton Mar 20 '18 at 15:16

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