Something may be "from inward to outward" or "from outward to inward". I want examples of English words (for general mathematical or philosophical terms, not for special things like cooking eggs) describing such things.

For example if instead of "from inward to outward" or "from outward to inward" it were "from left to right" and "from right to left", the appropriate English word would be "direction".

My particular task is to find an English word for processing XML either from inward to outward or from outward to inward, in order to name a thing in a new XML-related standard. But you don't need to know what is XML to answer my question.

The more appropriate words you give, the better, as this allows me more choice to name this thing.

  • The best word I have come up to the date is "inwardness". (I know that there is no such word however.)
    – porton
    Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 17:46
  • Left, right, up(ward), down(ward), forward, backward, inward, outward -- all of these are directions. Any of them might also be an orientation. Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 22:39
  • Since the context is specifically processing XML, "parent first" or "child first" node traversal might be what you need. As another commenter noted, "depth first" or "breadth first" traversal strategy might also apply. Whatever term you use, you should probably describe exactly what you mean by that term. Either "inward to outward" or "outward to inward" is ambiguous, if you're talking order of processing. For example, move upwards to the root then breadth first? Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


An XML structure is a tree.

Must you have an exact parallel to inward/outward.

You might describe your strategy as working from the leaves or from the root.



a dimension taken through an object or body of material, usually downward from an upper surface, horizontally inward from an outer surface, or from top to bottom of something regarded as one of several layers.

  • doesn't suit. I am about "from depth" to outward or from outward "to depth". Not about depth itself
    – porton
    Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 15:18
  • @proton then your example is wrong to. Depth is the perfect analogue to direction in this case. I don't know what exactly you are working with but I'm guessing "depth first processing" and "Breadth first processing" might help?
    – DRF
    Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 7:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .