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Human Anatomy Terms
The following terms are those which are used to identify the location of parts of the human body in medicine and academic study. These terms are often used to describe a specific portion of a structure or to compare the locations of two different structures. "The hand is distal to the forearm" or "the medial portion of the frontal bone contains the frontal sinus" are examples of this. We have organized this list of terms by keeping similar pairs or groups of terms together instead of by alphabetical order so that you will find them easier to learn and remember.
Superior- toward the head
Inferior - away from the head
Anterior - the front of the body or body part
Posterior - the back of the body or body part
Medial - toward the midline that divides left and right
Lateral - to the side away from the midline
Proximal - closer to the torso
Distal - farther away from the torso
Anatomical position - standing erect, facing the observer, arms are at the sides with palms facing forward.
(Image taken from Gray''s Anatomy Descriptive and Applied copywrighted 1946)