I want to write something like this:

Something can be differentiated by laterality [i.e. left - right dimension], by ___ [front - rear dimension], and also by the interaction between laterality and ___ [front-rear dimension].

What would be a proper word for the missing dimension?

Edit note:

The two sides (left and right) of the body can be differentiated by their laterality. The heart, for example, is a) not symmetrical and b) slightly to the left. A body has laterality because it can be said to have a left and a right side.

  • 1
    What is [ANOVA]?
    – Lawrence
    Oct 18, 2022 at 4:38
  • This question can, I'm sure, be answered by experts in a field which uses these terms.
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 18, 2022 at 7:00
  • 1
    Anteriority, forwardness, and several similar words are to be found in dictionaries. (There are a lot of questions here asking what's the name for the scale between two positions, e.g. good and bad, or extravert and introvert, but English tends not to have many words for such scales that aren't named after one side, like goodness/introversion.)
    – Stuart F
    Oct 18, 2022 at 11:34
  • 1
    Have you read papers that make these comparisons? What conventions did they use to describe them? Oct 18, 2022 at 17:08
  • 1
    I recommend simply rewriting the sentence without needing a word that probably doesn't exist. Oct 19, 2022 at 3:38

1 Answer 1


I found this source on anatomical directional references.

Accordingly, it should be anterior or ventral for the front and posterior or dorsal for the rear direction.

My research says: anteroposterior (antero-posterior) is used to describe both.

Here is one paper that uses the term.

  • The OP was looking for a noun. Having said that, surely nobody would recommend "antero-posteriority"?
    – TonyK
    Oct 19, 2022 at 16:05
  • It's a noun, like laterality, isn't it?
    – Skobo Do
    Oct 19, 2022 at 17:38
  • A single noun isn't always available and shouldn't necessarily be invented to make a particular construction work. "Antero-posterior dimension" could easily be abbreviated "AP" or "A/P", though, for brevity in text. The whole construction OP suggests seems very questionable, though, and they should really be running this by someone in the field. Oct 19, 2022 at 19:20
  • @BryanKrause "A single noun isn't always available and shouldn't necessarily be invented to make a particular construction work." I am a German native speaker. This is quite an insult :-) Anyway, I did not invent this word, if even it was invented by the article I was referring to. Especially in subject-specific areas like medicine or science in general, inventing new words is mandatory.
    – Skobo Do
    Oct 19, 2022 at 19:37
  • @SkoboDo I was referring specifically to the "antero-posteriority" creation, though it does seem this one has been used before from a search on Google Scholar - not that I think those people should have used it, either :) Oct 20, 2022 at 22:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.