Can "astride" be used in the figurative meaning of "half one on side and half on the other side"?

The specific concept I'm trying to express is that a certain span of values with a certain length is centered on a given value, so I'm saying:

The range is 200 MHz astride the central frequency.

  • Astride is almost always a reference to riding (or at least sitting on something as if to ride it), and while sidebands may be figuratively "riding" a carrier, this may be taking the metaphor just a bit too far. If you are talking about modulated RF, why not call the carrier the, um, carrier, which frees up centred (which would be an awkward repetition in the current formulation)?
    – bye
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:24
  • Consider: The range is 200 MHz (+-) the central frequency. Sep 30, 2014 at 13:32
  • @bye: I agree in saying "carrier" instead of "central frequency", but I still have the problem of saying that the range of frequencies is half on one side of the carrier and half on the other.(I know it could be easily deducted, but I have to state that clearly). Which word would you use in place of "astride"?
    – Lorenzo
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:46
  • 1
    Centred around?
    – bye
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:47
  • @ Gary's Student: thanks for your comment. I'm considering to change the sentence as a last chance if I cannot get a good word in place of "astride". Anyway, I meant that the range is 100 MHz +/- the central frequency.
    – Lorenzo
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


Not really, no. While you can use astride figuratively, I don't see how it can fit here. I would instead use

The range spans 200 MHz on either side of the central frequency.


The range extends 200 MHz on either side of the central frequency.


Astride can be used figuratively. See this example from the Oxford leaner's dictionary.

with one leg on each side of something

  • to sit astride a horse/bike/chair

  • (figurative) a town astride the river

However in your case astride would be incorrect. The range is not astride the central frequency as it encompasses it, rather than residing either side of it.

Your range is ±100MHz from the central frequency.

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