Suppose that I have two objects, A and B (let's say two wooden cubes). If I arrange them in space like this:


the action would be stacking. I'm looking for a single word that is the equivalent of putting side by side:

   A | B

Side-ing is not a valid word, apparently. :-)

(In case someone is curious why I'm asking: I'm a programmer, and I need the names of the functions that I write to be short and expressive, so the users will remember them easily and won't need to read supplemental documentation figure out what these functions are intended to do).

  • It is called stacking. The word doesn't necessarily imply items on top of one another, it implies neatness - as opposed to a pile or heap.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 12:50
  • @Chenmunka Well, I need to make a qualitative distinction between the two operations, because -- for my programming metaphors -- the results are semantically different. That's why I'm looking for two words. I could go with something like vertcat and horzcat, but I still think that proper English words would do better. Anyways, thank you for the supplemental explanations.
    – CST-Link
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:39
  • For the name of a function in a program, there is no law that you can only use real words. I invent words for functions all the time.
    – Jay
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 17:01
  • to horizontally-position
    – user6951
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 1:17
  • 1
    Arguably, the best word to use in pair with the verb "stack" is "lay". In my opinion, "line up" is good too, though you seem not to like it. Juxtaposing could work, but somehow doesn't go well with stacking to me. If you feel like juxtapose is a good choice, you could as well choose words like adpose or even collocate. Having said that, if I had to name it, I would go with something simple like makeColumn() and makeRow(); if I were in my quirky mode, I could even go with columnIt(), rowIt() (or columnThem(), rowThem(), depending on my mood). ;-) Commented May 29, 2015 at 3:13

5 Answers 5


You are either aligning your blocks (that is, arranging them in a line) or juxtaposing them.

The latter (juxtaposing) works better if you have only two blocks; for more than that, go with aligning.

  • I would go with juxtaposing, since the result of the assembly is a juxtaposition (like the result of stacking is a stack). The only thing is that it sounds like a really... fancy word? :-) Anyways, I'll wait for other eventual answers for half a day; if no other candidates, I'll choose your answer.
    – CST-Link
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:40
  • @CST-Link Oh, you want a fancy word? Why, then, assuming you have three blocks, you can syzygize them, creating a perfectly-aligned three-body syzygy. Or, of course, a Great Conjunction. :) More seriously, after aligning your blocks, the result, of course, is a line.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:51
  • Haha, no, no fancy names for non-fancy functions. :-)
    – CST-Link
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:53
  • @CST-Link If this is the name of a function, you could consider that you are arraying your elements, producing an array. Of course, an array doesn't have to be a 1-dimensional structure (any regular arrangement could be considered an array), but unqualified, that's usually how it's understood.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:55
  • I think "aligning" implies that you are positioning them very carefully in some way, like their fronts must form a single line. If, for example, I stuck several books on a book shelf, I wouldn't say I was "aligning" them. "Juxtapose" is good and means what the OP is asking for, though it is a rather obscure word.
    – Jay
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 17:00

How about

to line up

1[intransitive/transitive] to form a row, or to put people or things in a row

The books are lined up on a shelf above the desk.

This example from Macmillan dictionary is orthogonal (so to speak) to books being stacked (on my desk, for example).

  • Thanks for the answer, I appreciate it. Lining up is indeed something that expresses what I want say,but is not quite a single word, and also it doesn't express easily the result of the operation (e.g. the result of stacking the objects is a stack).
    – CST-Link
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 13:31
  • @CST-Link No problem :-). I think that Dan Bron is more competent for this (we posted at the same time). I really know nothing about programming. (A general side note about English language: to line up is a phrasal verb, so it might be treated as one entity; a line-up is a compound noun, therefore one word. Compound words can be written separately, with a hyphen as well as together) :-).
    – Lucky
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 14:46

If you want a word that means to place side by side and not vertically, I would stay away from "juxtapose."

I'm looking for a single word that is the equivalent of putting side by side... so the users will remember them easily and won't need to read supplemental documentation figure out what these functions are intended to do

Technically, juxtapose does not mean "to put/place/position side-by-side. It can mean that, but it can also mean to put/place/position vertically--or diagonally, or... But in fact, that is not all.

The definition in the OED is rather disappointing:

To place (two or more things) side by side, or close to one another, or (one thing) by the side of another.

Oxford English Dictionary, aka OED

I mean, yes, the definition includes side by side, but that is not intregal to the definition. And note that the OED does say it can be other than side-by-side.

So what the function of juxatpose meant would confuse me, because it means..., actually the definition in the little Oxford Dictionary online (ODO) is better:

Place or deal with close together for contrasting effect: black-and-white 'photos of slums were starkly juxtaposed with colour images'

Notice: 'for contrasting effect'. This is integral to the definition, or at least to how the word is used nowadays.

Back to the ODE, two of its three example uses show this:

1879 Cassell's Techn. Educator iii. 191/2 When colours are juxtaposed, they become influenced as to their hue.

1881 H. Spencer Princ. Psychol. (ed. 3) I. ii. ii. 171 They are juxtaposed and contrasted.

Notice the colors could be juxtaposed vertically.

The OED definition provides example uses over 100 years old, but today the word juxtapose primarily means to place close together (not: side by side) for contrasting effect.

Note the entry for the synonyms in US Thesaurus (ODO):

Synonyms of juxtapose in English: verb 1 the exhibit juxtaposes works by Van Gogh and Gauguin place side by side, set side by side, collocate, mix; compare, contrast

Note that the works of Van Gogh and Gauguin are not "placed side by side" because that is kinda, sorta alphabetical order, but because of the contrast between the works of the twp artists.

Note these images for "juxtapose":

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The glass and the beer bottle are not simply next to each other, they are in juxtaposition:

The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect: the juxtaposition of these two images

Lining up can mean side-by-side, but it can also mean behind one another.


As others have noted, aligning/juxtaposing work very well for the verb form, but if you wanted to describe the positioning using an adjective, I'd describe the blocks as adjacent to one another. This has a noun form: adjacency. Unfortunately, there is no verb form for this word.

  • For a program, he could always make up a word, like "adjacentize" or "adjacentify". I do that all the time.
    – Jay
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 17:04

As others have noted, "juxtapose" means what you are asking for.

That said, if we're talking names of functions in a program, and it sounds like you are trying to say that these two functions are related, one arranging vertically and the other horizontally, I'd want to give them names that have some similarity to show the relationship. Like "ArrangeVertically" and "ArrangeHorizontally", or some abbreviation thereof.

This would apply not just to programming but to any discussion where you want to make the parallelism clear.

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