Anatomy: directional terms


Superior (cranial or cephalad)
Toward the head end or upper part of a structure or the body; above

Inferior (caudal)
Away from the head end or toward the lower part of the structure or the body; below

Anterior (ventral)
Toward or at the front of the body; in front of


Posterior (dorsal)
Toward or at the backside of the body; behind

Medial
Toward or at the midline of the body; on the inner side of

Lateral
Away from the midline of the body; on the outer side of

Intermediate
Between a more medial and more lateral structure

Proximal
Close to the origin of the body part

Distal
Farther from the origin of a body part

Superficial
Toward or at the body surface

Deep
Away from the body

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