I'm looking for a word meaning
"On the left or right, or both (left and right)"


I will have people on my left or right, or both left and right.

  • 2
    Welcome to Stack Exchange ELU! Single word requests require more detail. What is the context in which this word will be used? Can you give one or more examples of this word in use? What research have you done yourself to find this word? Have you found any that are similar but not quite right? If so, what are they and why did they not work for you?
    – Hank
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:30
  • I too think that context is required. Perhaps you could use "I will have people at my side."
    – michael.hor257k
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:46
  • @michael.hor257k I suppose that does work, but I'd like to be a bit more specific than that.
    – sudoman
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:51
  • 2
    "I will have people by my sides"? Jan 17, 2017 at 19:51
  • @MarkHubbard "I may have people on either side" ? - maybe?
    – sudoman
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


A word that fits your description is flanking. It is the present participle of the verb flank:

to be situated at the side of; especially: to be situated on both sides of


  • “This view is a combination of nature and artifice; the house is angled for it, the unbroken lawn leads to it, the flanking tree plantations frame it, [...]” (George Seddon, Landprints: Reflections on Place and Landscape)
  • “They form small courtyards, each consisting of a main building and flanking buildings.” (Qinghua Guo, The Mingqi Pottery Buildings of Han Dynasty China, 206 BC-AD 220)
  • So would then sentence then be: "I have people flanking around me"?
    – sudoman
    Jan 18, 2017 at 16:54
  • @sudoman "There are people flanking me" or "People are flanking me". Note that the word flank can have military connotations; make sure your context is clear. Jan 18, 2017 at 17:00

J. Siebeneichler has given a good answer, but I will offer a few other comments, I am still not quite sure what situation the original question was asking about.

Typically, when describing having people on various sides of yourself, you would say one of the following.

There are people all around me.

There are people surrounding me.

There are people encircling me.

There are people on both sides of me.

There are people on either side of me. --or-- There are people to either side of me. --or-- There are people at either side of me.

There are people in front of and behind me. --or-- There are people both in front of and behind me.

There are people flanking me.

all around means on all sides (front, back, left, right)

surrounding also means on all sides, but it carries a bit of an implication that there is little or no empty space (there are no gaps) between those people

encircling means forming a circle around; used less commonly; to a certain degree, it often implies that the people are intentionally forming a circle

on either side of usually means on the left and right

to either side of same as on either side of (to either side of is not used much in contemporary American English)

at either side of same as on either side, but less common

flanking also means on the left and on the right, but it is used less commonly. In informal English, it is much more common to say or write "I have people on both sides of me" than to say "I have people flanking me."

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