Lat"er*al (?), a. [L. lateralis, fr. latus, lateris, side: cf. F.lat'eral.]
Of or pertaining to the sides; as, the lateral walls of a house; the lateral branches of a tree.
Lying at, or extending toward, the side; away from the mesial plane; external; -- opposed to mesial.
Directed to the side; as, a lateral view of a thing.
Lateral cleavage Crystallog., cleavage parallel to the lateral planes. -- Lateral equation Math., an equation of the first degree. [Obs.] -- Lateral line Anat., in fishes, a line of sensory organs along either side of the body, often marked by a distinct line of color. -- Lateral pressure or stress Mech., a pressure or stress at right angles to the length, as of a beam or bridge; -- distinguished from longitudinal pressure or stress. -- Lateral strength Mech., strength which resists a tendency to fracture arising from lateral pressure. -- Lateral system Bridge Building, the system of horizontal braces (as between two vertical trusses) by which lateral stiffness is secured.
© Webster 1913.