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For example, to be used in a sentence like this:

He always found it easier to recall his girlfriend's back rather than her [...].

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closed as off-topic by Kris, ermanen, Ronan, Josh61, RyeɃreḁd May 15 at 15:06

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Front, frontal. –  Blessed Geek May 15 at 2:48
    
See also: English Language Learners –  Kris May 15 at 5:14
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This question may be better on English Language Learners –  Kris May 15 at 5:14
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In medical imaging, the term used is anterior/posterior, just as we use "inferior (towards feet) / superior (towards head)". –  Floris May 15 at 6:32
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@floris for every 10,000 words on the internet, one sometimes sees the odd Fact. you've supplied it here :) –  Joe Blow May 15 at 8:45

6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

He always found it easier to recall his girlfriend's back rather than her [...].

Front.

[And personally I would stay away from "front side" and "back side" (and backside).]

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You’ve said it yourself: a person has a front side and a back side (just as they have a left side and a right side, or a top half and a bottom half, to cover the other two axes).

However, phrasing your sentence that way might come well across as indelicate or risqué:

He always found it easier to recall his girlfriend’s back side than her front side.

The problem of course is that one’s backside (note inaudible lack of space compared with back side) is generally taken to mean one’s derrière, and since this is in the context of a girlfriend, it is hard to find fault in the reader who jumps to the French reading.

It is not clear to me that simply omitting the word side there successfully sidesteps the potential for reading more into it than you presumably intend.

Yet even if you flee plain English to hide in Latin, although you should find that the somewhat clinical anterior is safe enough, you’ll also quickly find that the punsters have already called dibs on her posterior. :)

Latin also has distal and proximal to offer up as contrasting adjectives distinguishing a near piece from a far one, but you’re likely to lose your readership there unless you’re addressing a particularly erudite crowd.

Unless you are intentionally referencing her behind and her bosom here, if you want to play it safe, you may have little alternative but to resort to some longer, less direct sentence:

He always found it easier to remember what his girlfriend looked like walking away from him than what she looked like walking towards him.

Some readers still might draw their own conclusions about her behind or her bosom, but at least this way you put the onus of having a lascivious mind more on their shoulders than on your own.

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you can also use "from the front" and "from the back" –  Jim May 15 at 1:42

Anterior, but it’s quite a technical term. Depending on context, it can also mean nearer to the head.

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"anterior" can only mean "nearer to the head" in quadrupeds. For bipeds like humans, "anterior" always means "towards the front of the body". –  senshin May 15 at 8:26
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Good clarification. We'll assume that the girlfriend is a biped. –  EndlessLoop May 15 at 8:32
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I think it's great. "He always found it easier to recall his girlfriend's posterier rather than her anterier." Much improved, almost classy. (Kinda like: "I hate to see her go, but I love watching her leave.") –  ebyrob May 15 at 13:33

"He always found it easier to recall what she looked like from behind than from the front".

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That’s the opposite of what was asked, though. It’s her distal side not her proximal one that has stuck more in his memory. –  tchrist May 15 at 2:04
    
Quite right - thanks. I have edited accordingly. –  Erik Kowal May 15 at 2:08
    
Erik's totally correct that "looked like from behind" or "looked like from the front" is the most comfortable expression in English, to get across (rather confusing) idea. –  Joe Blow May 15 at 8:47

To a biologist, it could be her ventral ("front" in a standing biped) and dorsal ("back" in the same creature) sides. Not too romantic, or understandable by most people!

I think the OP is going to have to give more information about just what he's after here (and as Zapp Brannigan said, "Don't spare the dirty details!"). He could remember what about her from the back, as opposed to the front? Does he best remember her walking away from him in a huff? Does he remember some anatomical detail from her backside better?

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I dunno, I'd be tempted to say:

He always found it easier to recall his girlfriend's behind rather than dwelling on her affronts.

(of course EndlessLoop's answer is certainly more exact)

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