The term counterclockwise describes the direction that is the opposite of the way the hands of a clock normally move. Looking at clock from the front or above, the hand of the clock would need to move left and around in a circular motion to describe a counterclockwise motion. It is the opposite direction of clockwise. Refer to the image below.
Both the definitions of counterclockwise and clockwise require that the position you are looking at the clock from is defined. This is because depending on where you are when looking at the clock, the direction of rotation is different. A clockwise rotation looking at the clock from the front or above would be counterclockwise if the same rotation were viewed from behind or below.
Did you know?
The traditional way that the hands on a clock rotate is due to how sundials, one of the devices used to tell time before the development of clocks, worked. The hands on a clock don't have to move in what is defined as a clockwise direction, and there have been clocks that were designed to have hands that moved in a counterclockwise direction.