1. of or relating to the side; situated at, proceeding from, or directed to a side: a lateral view.
  2. pertaining to or entailing a position, office, etc., that is different but equivalent or roughly equivalent in status, as distinguished from a promotion or demotion: a lateral move.
  3. Phonetics. articulated so that the breath passes on either or both sides of the tongue, as l.


  1. a lateral part or extension, as a branch or shoot.
  2. Mining. a small drift off to the side of a principal one.
  3. Phonetics. a lateral speech sound.
  4. Football. lateral pass.

verb (used without object)

  1. Football. to throw a lateral pass.
  2. to move laterally or sideways: migrating birds lateraling down into Cape May.

verb (used with object)

  1. Football. to throw (the ball) in a lateral pass.


  1. of or relating to the side or sidesa lateral blow
  2. phonetics (of a speech sound like l) pronounced with the tip of the tongue touching the centre of the alveolar ridge, leaving space on one or both sides for the passage of the airstream


  1. a lateral object, part, passage, or movement
  2. phonetics a lateral speech sound
  3. botany a branch, leaf, or bud that grows out from the side of a stem or trunk

adj.early 15c., from Middle French latéral and directly from Latin lateralis “belonging to the side,” from latus (genitive lateris) “side” (see oblate (n.)). As a noun, from 1630s, “a side part.” As a type of pass to the side in U.S. football, it is attested from 1934. Related: Laterally. adj.

  1. Relating to or situated at or on the side.
  2. Situated or extending away from the median plane of the body.
  3. Relating to the left or right lateral region of the abdomen.


  1. A lateral part, position, or appendage.

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