spa·​tial | \ ˈspā-shəl How to pronounce spatial (audio) \
variants: or less commonly spacial

Definition of spatial

1 : relating to, occupying, or having the character of space
2 : of, relating to, or involved in the perception of relationships (as of objects) in space tests of spatial ability spatial memory

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Other Words from spatial

spatiality \ ˌspā-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce spatiality (audio) \ or less commonly spaciality noun
spatially \ ˈspā-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce spatially (audio) \ or less commonly spacially adverb

Examples of spatial in a Sentence

When patients have this kind of problem, they can't feel the relationship between their body and their feet, so they must rely on visual cues to keep themselves upright. Without these cues, they lose their spatial orientation and fall. — John Pettinato, Discover, October 2004 Williams syndrome, which was first described in 1961, results when a group of genes on one copy of chromosome 7 is deleted during embryonic development. Most people with Williams resemble each other more than they do their families, with wide-set hazel eyes, upturned noses, and wide mouths. They also share a peculiar set of mental impairments. Most stumble over the simplest spatial tasks, such as putting together a puzzle, and many not read or write beyond the level of a first grader. U.S. News & World Report, 15 June 1998 Several new ground-based and orbiting astronomical facilities that could provide high spatial and spectral resolution appear technologically ready for development during the next several decades. — Robert D. Gehrz et al., Science, 25 May 1984 the spatial dimensions of a room
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Recent Examples on the Web Still, Akin has done an exceptional job of making sense of the spatial limitations. Chadner Navarro, Fortune, "Pre-pandemic, Kuala Lumpur’s hospitality scene was heating up with new design-forward boutique hotels," 5 Sep. 2020 Newer satellites with spectral sensors and advanced optics technology now provide finer spatial resolution and data processing. Carolyn Said,, "Wildfire spotting goes high tech: Can Silicon Valley save Northern California?," 29 Aug. 2020 What stress and anxiety can affect, Voelbel told me, is spatial awareness: your ability to accurately perceive where your body is in relation to the things in the world around it. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Has Made Klutzes Out of Everyone," 28 Aug. 2020 One way that those limits could manifest themselves is in the discretization of the world, perhaps showing up in spatial and temporal resolution barriers. Caleb A. Scharf, Scientific American, "Could We Force the Universe to Crash?," 10 Aug. 2020 With this force of on-the-ground science nerds, experts are capturing data at extremely fine spatial and temporal scales. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since the First Earth Day," 22 Apr. 2020 Birth in the community context happens in various positions (rarely do women choose to labor or push while on their backs), so any midwife who trains or works outside the conventional model also develops a nimble spatial awareness. Jennifer Block, Longreads, "The Criminalization of the American Midwife," 10 Mar. 2020 That name may sound familiar, since it was given to a number of skunkworks teams working on experimental VR-like features and hardware (including years of focus on 3D spatial audio at its Seattle-area office). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Facebook has begun ghosting the “Oculus” moniker in its VR division," 25 Aug. 2020 At the core of human and primate friendships are being close in terms of spatial proximity and feeling close by emotional proximity, influenced by the time spent together. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "The pandemic threatens how we naturally grow and benefit from relationships," 25 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spatial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spatial

1847, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spatial

Latin spatium space

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Time Traveler for spatial

Time Traveler

The first known use of spatial was in 1847

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Statistics for spatial

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spatial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for spatial


How to pronounce spatial (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of spatial

technical : of or relating to space and the relationship of objects within it


spa·​tial | \ ˈspā-shəl How to pronounce spatial (audio) \

Kids Definition of spatial

: of or relating to space


spa·​tial | \ ˈspā-shəl How to pronounce spatial (audio) \

Medical Definition of spatial

1 : relating to, occupying, or having the character of space affected with spatial disorientation
2 : of or relating to facility in perceiving relations (as of objects) in space tests of spatial ability

Other Words from spatial

spatially \ ˈspāsh-​(ə-​)lē How to pronounce spatially (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on spatial

Nglish: Translation of spatial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spatial for Arabic Speakers

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