"Downstream" and "upstream" can mean different things. They can be either adjectives or adverbs, and refer to either directions or relative positions.

Refering to directions, I believe that laŭflue and kontraŭflue are suitable translations. My question is mostly about relative positions. I can not find any word for expressing the fact of being up or down relatively to a stream.

Beside, "downstream" and "upstream" are often used in a metaphorical way. In molecular biology, a signal can be said to act "downstream" to the activation a receptor, and the receptor activation is said "upstream" of this signal. Both words are also used in software development. In these cases, is it better to keep the river metaphor, or to be more explicit?

Here are example sentences with my proposed translations:

  • His house is downstream from mine. (Lia domo staras sub la mia laŭ la rivero.)
  • The activation of the receptor causes the transmission of a downstream signal. (Aktivigo de la ricevilo estigas transmision/transdonon de laŭflua signalo.)
  • Send a patch to upstream developer. (Sendu flikaĵon al kontraŭflua programisto.)

I am not not satisfied with the way I expressed relative positions. Laŭflua and kontraŭflua seem to refer to movements, not positions.

2 Answers 2


Your own proposals look okay to me. It is quite normal for the same words to be used for movements and positions, as in English: Mi piediras laŭ la rivero. Domoj staras laŭ la rivero. La muso kuris sub ĝin, kaj nun estas sub ĝi.

His house is downstream from mine. Lia domo staras laŭflue de mia. Lia domo staras post la mia laŭflue. Lia domo staras sub la mia laŭflue.

His house is also on the river, downstream from mine. Lia domo ankaŭ staras apud la rivero, laŭflue de mia.

However, the bare adjectives "upstream" and "downstream" might need clarification, e.g. laŭflue antaŭa/posta or supera/suba versus laŭflue iranta.

Send a patch to upstream developer. Sendu flikaĵon kontraŭflue. Sendu flikaĵon al origina programisto. or al pli proksima/apudfonta/supera programisto.

  • Thank you for the proposals. It is not obvious how to express positions relative to a stream in one word. For instance, that discussion on Lernu (lernu.net/en/forumo/temo/12619) did not reach any solution. In a metabolic pathway, which is a temporal succession of biochemical reactions, molecule A can be said to act upstream of molecule B. It could translate as "A agas antaŭ/super B", but that misses the reference to the "stream" of the reactions.
    – Sambuko
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 8:44
  • 1
    You could apply the first example with the houses: A agas antaŭ/post B laŭflue. "A acts before/after B along the direction of flow." Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 10:07
  • Yes, indeed. It also works with adjectives: Proteino A estas laŭflue supera/autaŭa regulilo de geno B. "Protein A is an upstream regulator of gene B".
    – Sambuko
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 20:27

In fact, laŭflue and kontraŭflue are what is listed in Benson (CEED).

As for the metaphoric use, it might be OK, but I'd like to see a specific example in context.

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