English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

English Dictionary

lateral  (ˈlætərəl



  1. of or relating to the side or sides   ⇒ a lateral blow
  2. (phonetics) (of a speech sound like l) pronounced with the tip of the tongue touching the centre of the alveolar ridge, leaving space on one or both sides for the passage of the airstream


  1. a lateral object, part, passage, or movement
  2. (phonetics) a lateral speech sound
  3. (botany) a branch, leaf, or bud that grows out from the side of a stem or trunk

Derived Forms

ˈlaterally  adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Latin laterālis, from latus side


View thesaurus entry
= sideways, side, flanking, edgeways, sideward

Translations for 'lateral'

  • British English: lateral Lateral means relating to the sides of something, or moving in a sideways direction. ADJECTIVEHe estimated the lateral movement of the bridge to be between four and six inches.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: lateral
  • Chinese: 侧面的侧側面的
  • European Spanish: lateral
  • French: latéral latérale
  • German: seitlich
  • Italian: laterale
  • Japanese: 横の
  • Korean: 측면의
  • Portuguese: lateral
  • Spanish: lateral

Example Sentences Including 'lateral'

And there I was, thinking you employed imaginative lateral thinking.
Trenhalle, John A Means to Evil
I tied up in the lateral basin, pulled out the Thermos bottle of tea and the package of sandwiches that I had brought with me.
Gagman, Maurice Doubtful Motives
I glare at the itineraries we have been given: lateral thinking until lunchtime today, then something called'How to Think'.
Scarlett Thomas POPCO (2004)


Log in to comment on this word.