Clockwise and Counterclockwise

Clockwise

Clockwise means moving in the direction of the hands on a clock.

clockwise vs counterclockwise

Try it yourself:

Most screws and bolts are tightened, and faucets/taps are closed, by turning clockwise.

clockwise closed

Counterclockwise / Anticlockwise

The opposite direction is called counterclockwise in the US (or anticlockwise in the UK).

Angles

Angles from a line are measured counterclockwise (and a negative angle goes clockwise):

positive negative angle

 

BUT compass bearings are measured clockwise:

compass bearing
Compass Bearings

So Which Way?

Clock hands go clockwise, taps are closed clockwise, screws are tightened clockwise, compass bearings go clockwise.

But angles are measured counterclockwise.

(And that is just how it is.)

Abbreviation

Such long words deserve to be shortened.

So clockwise can be shortened to CW.

And counterclockwise to CCW (or maybe ACW for anticlockwise).

 

Fun Fact: an old term for counterclockwise was widdershins.