Suppose we have a laser emitting a beam in the general direction of a target. Let P be the point nearest to the target, along the beam.

"Range" is a word commonly used for the distance to an object. I need terms to label two orthogonal components of this range from the perspective of the laser: the component along the beam (i.e. from the laser source to P), and the component orthogonal to the beam (i.e. from P to the target). My preferred terms would have been "longeral range" and "lateral range" if only "longeral" existed.

An sample sentence would be (in the voice of the laser) "The longeral range of object X is ten meters." This would mean the range of P (from the laser) is ten meters.

  • I feel like this should be some thing along the lines of displacement or error or correction, because it's fundamentally describing how wrong the aiming is. Having said that, maybe lateral (side-to-side) vs vertical (up-and-down)? I think we can help you find a more precise term if you describe in more detail why the laser is pointed at "some point P near the target" rather than directly "at the target". Do you not have line of sight? Then you might prefer ballistics to a laser... – Dan Bron Mar 1 '16 at 13:19
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    Several websites (both dictionaries and sites like Yahoo Answers) point to the antonym of lateral being medial, though I'm admittedly not 100% sure that's the axis you're after here.. – John Clifford Mar 1 '16 at 13:20
  • @DanBron What I am after is neither side-to-side nor up-and-down but this-side-to-other-side. – Museful Mar 1 '16 at 13:25
  • @DanBron do you mean front-to-back (or back-to-front)? – Michael Mar 1 '16 at 13:32
  • @Michael I don't understand the question you asked me. – Dan Bron Mar 1 '16 at 13:51

I think it would be longitudinal:


longitudinal ‎(not comparable)

  1. Relating to length, or to longitude.
  2. Running in the direction of the long axis of a body.


  • Would you then also say "latitudinal range" rather than "lateral range"? – Museful Mar 1 '16 at 13:30
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    No. "Lateral" is the adjective form of "latitude", but the adjective form of "longitude" is "longitudinal". Verb/adjective/noun forms of different words were (and continue to be) developed at different historical points along the evolution of the language, so presuming words which are used in similar contexts should use the same suffixes in those forms is a false assumption. – Veeno Mar 1 '16 at 13:40
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