Clockwise and Counterclockwise


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

clockwise vs counterclockwise

Try it yourself:

Faucets (taps) get closed, and most screws and bolts get tightened by turning clockwise.

clockwise closed

Counterclockwise / Anticlockwise

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


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.


Such long words deserve to be shortened.

So clockwise can be shortened to CW.

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