Directed Distance

Pronunciation: /dɪˈrɛk.tɪd ˈdɪs.təns/ Explain

A directed distance is a distance that may be positive or negative. By convention, distance is usually taken to be a positive quantity. In analytical geometry, a directed distance may be used. This is useful for measuring the distance of a point from the origin.

By convention, a positive directed distance is to the right, up, or towards the viewer. A negative distance is to the left, down, or away from the viewer. One example of directed distance is a number line with negative numbers.

Number line showing -10 to 10
Figure 1: Directed distance on a number line.


  1. McAdams, David E.. All Math Words Dictionary, directed distance. 2nd Classroom edition 20150108-4799968. pg 61. Life is a Story Problem LLC. January 8, 2015. Buy the book

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Directed Distance. 12/21/2018. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

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Revision History

12/21/2018: Reviewed and corrected IPA pronunication. (McAdams, David E.)
7/4/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup, implemented new Geogebra protocol. (McAdams, David E.)
1/23/2010: Added "References". (McAdams, David E.)
7/11/2008: Added number line image. (McAdams, David E.)
5/7/2008: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

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