Below was a question about the role of 方 in 貽笑大方. I'm sure our learnéd friends correctly advised. Just as a gut reaction, I would have said 大方 meant 'everywhere'.
I would like to know about 方 in 方向。
方 seems to mean square. Its etymology is a bit uncertain I think. I read it shows two ships tied together, or it shows a plough, or it shows that ancient punishment tool, a wooden square fixed around someone's neck.
In方向，meaning 'direction, orientation' does this 方 mean 'facing'? In English we can say, "The two opponents squared off," basically meaning 'they directly faced each other.'
Is 方向 a contraction of a longer phrase? Maybe 地区，地方 + 走向？