• (British) IPA: /ˈlæt.ɹəl/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈlæt.ɚ.əl/


  1. To the side; of or pertaining to the side.
    Instead of a promotion, I opted for a lateral move to a similar position in the marketing department.
  2. Non-linear or unconventional, as in, lateral thinking.
  3. (anatomy) Pertaining to the left or right of the body; further from the midline.
    The medial side of the knee faces the other knee, while the outer side of the knee is lateral.
    A fish senses changes in hydrodynamic pressure with its lateral line.
  4. (physics) At right angles to a line of motion or strain.
  5. (phonetics, phonology) Pertaining to sounds generated by partially blocking the egress of the airstream with the tip of the tongue touching the alveolar ridge, leaving space on one or both sides of the occlusion for air passage.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: латера́льный

lateral (plural laterals)

  1. An object, such as a passage or a protrusion, that is situated on the side of something else.
  2. (linguistics) A sound produced through lateral pronunciation (such as /l/ in lateral).
    Coordinate terms: approximant#English|approximant, fricative#English|fricative, nasal#English|nasal, trill#English|trill, plosive#English|plosive
  3. (American football) A lateral pass.
  4. (business) An employee hired for a position at the same organizational level or salary as their previous position.

lateral (laterals, present participle lateralling; past and past participle lateralled)

  1. To move (oneself or something) in a lateral direction.
  2. (American football) To execute a lateral pass.
Related terms

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