I am a researcher in computer vision, and I'm dealing with objects that have two sides - akin to coins that have heads and tails or animals which have dorsal and ventral sides: Dorsal vs ventral *orientation*; source: http://positiveimpressionsllc.com/LR163B/

In one setting, I always observe the objects from a particular side, e.g. always look at the dorsal side. In the other, my "coins" are flipped first so I don't know which side I observe (it might be either dorsal or ventral). My job is to find out whether the randomness in <insert noun here> of the objects matters.

The first idea is orientation, but 1) it suggests a smoothly changing rotation, whereas my situation involves a binary state: either dorsal or ventral, 2) the objects I see can also be rotated within the image itself, so I use the word orientation to talk about this rotation.

Any suggestions for a different noun?

Other words I considered and why they don't work:

  • direction - implies movement, and there is none
  • order - suggests a position within a sequence
  • position - feels related to spatial location, not rotation
  • alignment - suggests adherence to a (spatial) pattern
  • sidedness - The condition of having a specific number or form of sides - does not seem to convey the meaning I want
  • pose (computer vision) - combines position and orientation and is not applicable in this case

A similar question has been asked about the hypernym of horizontal and vertical, with the answers given: orientation and axis. I don't think axis is a good choice here either, as I focus on a particular axis: the dorsoventral axis.

  • 6
    I think you're not seeing the forest for the trees. The word you're after is side. You just used that word many many times to explain the idea to us. And it was a fine explanation, and it is a fine word. So just continue using it. Your objects have two sides. You observe the different sides. At random. Trying to find out whether it matters which randomly selected side you observe. Not direction. Not order. The pose doesn't matter. You're not looking at position or alignment, either. You only look at one side out of two. The word for that is side. And you know it, which is why you used it.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 12:11
  • 1
    Side must've eluded me due to its simplicity, while indeed it works for my case. Thank you for resetting my brain from this deadlock :) If you turned this comment into an answer, I would gladly accept it.
    – user255827
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 14:18
  • If you were thinking only of spherical dogs, it would be a hemisphere.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 3:58
  • 1
    You could use point of view or viewpoint.
    – jxh
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


Isn't face the term you are looking for?

  • I would rather avoid face as in my field using this word (especially in a title) suggests that the objects I'm working with are actual human faces, which many would find misleading. Thank you though!
    – user255827
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 14:19

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