What Is a Compass Point Called?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 3, 2020 1:31:22 PM ET
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There are a total of 32 compass points, which are horizontal directions located on a compass card, according to The Free Dictionary. The four main compass points, North (N), South (S), East (E) and West (W), are called cardinal compass points.

The compass points Northeast (NE), Northwest (NW), Southeast (SE) and Southwest (SW) are known as ordinal or intercardinal compass points. The four cardinal compass points and the four intercardinal compass points together are called principal compass points. The term "boxing the compass" is the process of naming all the compass points. The remaining intermediate compass points are named according to the initials of the cardinal directions followed by their intermediate ordinal directions, such as West Northwest (WNW) and Southwest by West (SWbW).