1. Of or pertaining to the sides; as, the lateral walls of a house; the lateral branches of a tree.
2. Anat. Lying at, or extending toward, the side; away from the mesial plane; external; -- opposed to mesial.
3. 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.
n : sense organs of fish and amphibians; believed to detect
pressure changes in the water [syn: lateral line organ]