For example, words like "left", "right", "close to", "above", "across from" etc. I've found on a lot of websites they're called "directional words" but I was wondering if there was a more technical term. I'm thinking of it as a subset of prepositions, words that only indicate some kind of relative position.

EDIT: I think one possible term is spatial adposition.

  • 1
    Most prepositions have some sort of spatial sense, but it's often metaphorized until all one can find is a figurative and often idiomatic sense. To be clear: there are no English prepositions that can ony indicate spatial position. There are a few English words that can only indicate time (when, then, during, endure, duration), but none for space. Space is a metaphor most of the time. Sep 3, 2013 at 2:28
  • 1
    And probably you ought to read the Deixis Lectures, especially the first two. Sep 3, 2013 at 2:30

1 Answer 1


Perhaps orientation

the position of something in relation to its surroundings: The church has an east-west orientation (has one main side facing east and the opposite side facing west).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.