When you arrange elements in a circle, you can either keep the initial orientation of each element, or align them similarly to a watch face.

enter image description here

Is there a term for elements that are aligned like a watch face (right)? I tried to go with "Elements are aligned outward" or "Elements are facing outwards", but it doesn't sound right and is very vague.

  • dial, has that meaning I think.
    – Jelila
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 13:20
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    Aligned like what parts of a watch face? Please could you describe the appropriate parts of your image in the text of your question?
    – Rosie F
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:03
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    Watch face is really ambiguous, so that's fairly obviously not the term to use.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:06
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    Please do not answer in comments. Write an answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:43
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    Actually, I've never seen a watch or clock laid out like you have on the right! Maybe there are some, but most have the numerals upright (I assume the arrows signify which way is "up" for orientation), as given on the left. As given below, "radial orientation" would be good enough for the purpose of describing the right-hand layout.
    – Phil Perry
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


The arrows in the image on the right are radial. Lexico has


1 Of or arranged like rays or the radii of a circle; diverging in lines from a common centre.

Seasoned logs will be light to the touch and will have radial cracks from the centre to the outside of the wood.

As an adverb you can say

The elements are arranged radially.

  • Thank you, radial describes what I was looking for, since the elements on the right-hand side 'spread' from a central point.
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 15:07
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    And you could also reasonably say that the arrows radiate from the centre, providing you are not in a context where that would be understood as the physics phenomenon.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 15:31
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    I personally would say "arranged radially, facing outward" for the arrangement of the blocks, as they could also face inward and still be considered radially arranged. Though I'm not sure that "arranged in a circle, facing outward" wouldn't work just as well.
    – trlkly
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 18:32
  • Backing up @trlkly, I'd simply say "facing out". Depends how technical you want to be; I think a lot of people would have no idea what "radial" means.
    – John Noble
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 8:40

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