Here are 8 directions: up, down, left, right, upleft, upright, downleft, downright.
Is there one word that covers "upleft, upright, downleft, downright" ?


  • 2
    I challenge the assertion that "upleft" and so on are words in standard English. You may see them used in computer programming (as identifier names) but you would never say "I threw the ball upleft.". Indeed, I think having these directions only really makes sense on a screen. So the answer is "No". Could you accept "No" as an answer?
    – James K
    Feb 14, 2023 at 7:49
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    They are all diagonal, aren't they? Feb 14, 2023 at 7:58
  • @JamesK I don't mean a word precisely for "upleft, upright, downleft, downright". It is also OK, if it is a word for "north-east, north-west, south-east, south-west". Here are 8 directions, and what is the word for the 4 not straight ones? Feb 14, 2023 at 8:02
  • @MichaelHarvey Yes! Feb 14, 2023 at 8:03
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    @MichaelHarvey: Or They are all diagonals, aren't they? - diagonal works fine as a countable noun as well as an adjective (which might not be obvious to learners). Feb 14, 2023 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


Of the eight main compass directions, the four main north, east, south, and west directions are called the cardinal directions, and the four 'diagonal' directions you show (north-east, south-east, south-west, and north-west) are called the intercardinal directions. These terms will probably be familiar to e.g. meteorologists and navigators, and maybe people interested in geometry, but are probably not familiar to others. Google 'Wikipedia points of the compass'.

Of course, an infinite number of other diagonal directions exist between the intercardinal ones.

  • 1
    However, I wouldn't say "I threw the ball in an intercardinal direction" to mean I threw it up and to the left.
    – James K
    Feb 14, 2023 at 9:26
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    @JamesK - yes. Horses for courses. The precision and clarity needed for aiming e.g. an anti-aircraft gun or an astronomical telescope would not be needed or appropriate for discussing throwing a ball. Anything more than 'up and to the left' would probably be perceived as clumsy and ridiculous. You might name a target, e.g. I threw the ball at my neighbour's window, which was above me to my left. Feb 14, 2023 at 10:49

The word that describes both of those is diagonal. A square or a rectangle has two equal diagonals.

If you had to differentiate between one diagonal and another you could do so in plain English by saying something like 'upper left to lower right. In mathematical diagrams, the sides or corners of a shape may be labelled and you can refer to those.

Just like the directions you referred to - left, right, up and down - diagonals are relative, unlike compass directions which are absolute.

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