spa·​tial | \ˈspā-shəl \
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 \ or less commonly spaciality noun
spatially \ˈspā-​sh(ə-​)lē \ 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

But a key difference is that these are entirely in 3D and are deployed with a much smarter sense of spatial and object recognition, thanks to Google’s advances in artificial intelligence. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Google has a big advantage over Facebook in a crisis," 10 Oct. 2018 This involves placing electrode arrays directly on the brain’s surface, minimizing distortions and vastly improving spatial resolution. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "“Traveling” Brain Waves May Be Critical for Cognition," 28 June 2018 Puzzle-like tasks assessed their spatial, verbal and short-term memories, as well as their capacity for deductive reasoning, sustained attention, planning and clear expression. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "When It Comes to Sleep, One Size Fits All," 25 Oct. 2018 Results showed the only difference was that the champions preferentially used parts of the brain responsible for navigation and spatial awareness during the tasks. Helen Thomson, WSJ, "Strange Stories of Extraordinary Brains—and What We Can Learn From Them," 29 June 2018 Or take students in USC’s spatial sciences program. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Cities Are Watching You—Urban Sciences Graduates Watch Back," 25 June 2018 In the process, East New York became a victim of what economists call spatial, or geographic, inequality: As its population shrank and its demographics changed, stores closed and city services declined, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, "The Case for the Subway," 3 Jan. 2018 Thus past, present and future converge to create an artwork whose meaning is immediately accessible but whose spatial and semantic depth successfully merge to produce one of the greatest works of art ever created. —Mr. Robert E. Gordon, WSJ, "A Multi-Layered Drama," 13 July 2018 Kids who build stuff have better spatial reasoning and, in one controversial study, better math skills. Erik Vance, Scientific American, "Sorry, Mom and Dad, Toys Cannot Supercharge Your Baby," 15 May 2018

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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Statistics for spatial

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spatial

The first known use of spatial was in 1847

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More Definitions for spatial



English Language Learners Definition of spatial

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


spa·​tial | \ˈspā-shəl \

Kids Definition of spatial

: of or relating to space


spa·​tial | \ˈspā-shəl \

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 \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on spatial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spatial

Spanish Central: Translation of spatial

Nglish: Translation of spatial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spatial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spatial

What made you want to look up spatial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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