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Term: Region or Reference: Example

Anterior

The Front; Before
e.g. The navel is on the anterior (ventral) surface of the trunk.

Ventral

The belly side (equivalent to anterior when referring to the human body).

Posterior

The back; behind
e.g. The shoulder blade is located posterior (dorsal) to the rib cage.

Dorsal

The back (equivalent to posterior when referring to the human body).

Cranial or Cephalic

The head;
e.g. The cranial, or cephalic, border of the pelvis is superior to the thigh.

Superior

Above; at a higher level (in the human body; toward the head).

Caudal

The tail (coccyx in humans).
e.g. The hips are caudal to the waist.

Inferior

Below; at a lower level.
e.g. The knees are inferior to the hips.

Medial

Toward the body's longitudinal axis.
e.g. The medial surfaces of the thighs may be in contact; moving medially from the arm across the chest surface brings you to the sternum.

Lateral

Away from the body's longitudinal axis.
e.g. The thigh articulates with the lateral surface of the pelvis; moving laterally from the nose brings you to the eyes.

Proximal

Toward an attached base.
e.g. The thigh is proximal to the foot; moving proximally from the wrist brings you to the elbow.

Distal

Away from an attached base.
e.g. The fingers are distal to the wrist; moving distally from the elbow brings you to the wrist.

Superficial

At, near, or relatively close to the body surface.
e.g. The scalp is superficial to the skull.

Deep

Farther from the body surface.
e.g. The bone of the thigh is deep to the surrounding skeletal muscles.

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