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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.
lateral lat·er·al (lāt'ər-əl)
Relating to or situated at or on the side.
Situated or extending away from the median plane of the body.
Relating to the left or right lateral region of the abdomen.
in phonetics, a consonant sound produced by raising the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth so that the airstream flows past one or both sides of the tongue. The l sounds of English, Welsh, and other languages are laterals