Suppose a grid of items, as you would have in a game. In this grid there are four types of lines of items:

  1. Horizontal Lines
  2. Vertical Lines
  3. Diagonal Lines oriented under 45 degrees
  4. Diagonal Lines oriented under minus 45 degrees

Note that such a line has no particular direction, they can be seen going either way.

The problem is that when writing material that has to be precise (such as code), the terms as above for types 3 and 4 become rather long (when succinct terminology is actually preferred).

Is there a "specialized" term that means "Diagonal" but also indicates orientation?

I've racked my brain to get an answer myself. There's not really a way to incorporate "Clockwise" and "CounterClockwise" to fix things. The terms from cardinal directions are too specialized as they also indicate a direction (e.g. "North-East Lines" suggests there's also "South-West Lines" but those are actually the same thing).

  • 1
    How 'bout NE-SW lines and NW-SE lines? Jun 7, 2015 at 12:44
  • Not sure, but I think in mathematics it is called a vector.
    – rogermue
    Jun 7, 2015 at 14:11
  • Roger - it really has nothing to do with a "vector". In computer graphics, a line on the screen is called ........................ wait for it ............. "a line" :) Vectors are totally unrelated. (For example, some point on the line, might happen to be described by a quaternion and a couple of vectors - but it just has nothing to do with what the OP is asking.)
    – Fattie
    Jun 7, 2015 at 16:36
  • Stoney. i'd just call them "uphill lines" and "downhill lines". The cartesian plane is all-but utterly universal. If you're first-grade teacher draws a graph with a line going up ... she will describe it as ............................ "a line going up" {FTR note that "north" etc has a very specific meaning in the 3D cgi, uh, "scene" (pun) and it doesn't work here.}
    – Fattie
    Jun 7, 2015 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


Ascending and descending, are words for lines with positive and negative slope respectively. You can use them in the same context as the adjectives horizontal and vertical.

  • Unbelievable, how could I not think of that, not even after @StoneyB's very similar suggestion in comments above? Tyvm for stating what should've probably been obvious to me!
    – Jeroen
    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:54
  • It is only obvious if you've thinking in a "rise over run" frame of mind. They're not particularly mathematical.
    – stevesliva
    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:57
  • I think it depends on the culture which one is ascending or descending. A native Arabic reader (read from right to left) might be confused about which is which. Nov 4, 2021 at 21:42
  • @Tuupertunut - I don't think Arabic readers typically reverse their Cartesian coordinate systems, and even if they did, it wouldn't change the fact that ascending means 'positive slope' in a Cartesian coordinate system in English. I guess if some culture did make the upper right quadrant negative for both axes, then you'd have to chose whether to translate the graphs.
    – stevesliva
    Nov 15, 2021 at 22:42

You are simply talking about positive and negative objects,

or just positive and negative lines, shapes, hills, character paths, puzzle boxes, or whatever the case may be.

This is completely commonplace.

All you're talking about are flat lines that are twisted on z .. so, positive if going up to the right, negative if going down to the right.

enter image description here

enter image description here

You can clearly see here the positive and negative twist on Z. (12 and 15 respectivaly, or whatever.) This is, literally, precisely how you will draw your "up or down hill lines", i.e. you'll set that value of z (the euler twist on z) to a positive or negative number. It's no more complicated that talking about (say) a "thick" or "thin" line, or a heavy or light object in the game.

This question has nothing to do with English, go to forum.unity3d.com if you need more help.

There are no "common English terms" for such arcane ideas from the computer graphics industry.

Note that, of course, you could just call them (say) "downLines" and "upLines" (accepting that almost all motion in the West - stock charts, anything - is seen ad left to right).

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