Definition of linear in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlɪnɪə/


1Arranged in or extending along a straight or nearly straight line: linear movement
More example sentences
  • The result is that all the proteins being tested have nearly the same extended linear shape.
  • A ‘two-stepper’ motor, one for linear motion along a straight line, and the other for turning, provide the robot with efficient mobility.
  • We also accomplished the extraction of unidirectional movement from the bidirectional movements along the linear tracks by adding arrowhead patterns on the tracks.
1.1Consisting of or predominantly formed using lines or outlines: simple linear designs
More example sentences
  • Familiar national outlines disappear as a linear design emerges that suggests the skeletal remains of some ancient mammal.
  • Despite what has been said so far about the use of the camera to make drawings, it is curiously an absence of linear outline in Vermeer's finished work to which Gowing points.
  • During the 1940s and 1950s his sculpture was predominantly open and linear, like three-dimensional metal calligraphy.
1.2Involving one dimension only: linear elasticity
More example sentences
  • We're currently shrinking the size of technology by a factor of 5.6 per linear dimension per decade, so it is conservative to say that this scenario will be feasible in a few decades.
  • Additionally, for animals with large muscle area, linear muscle dimensions may be used to decrease prediction error associated with a single area measurement alone.
  • Evidence that animals can monitor the linear dimensions of their organs comes from organisms with either less or more than the diploid number of chromosomes - that is haploid and polyploid organisms.
1.3 Mathematics Able to be represented by a straight line on a graph: linear functions
More example sentences
  • Consider first the simple example of a random walk on a 3-point linear graph.
  • No cryptographic algorithm should be a linear function.
  • Showing them that a line can represent a linear mathematical equation graphically.
1.4 Mathematics Involving or exhibiting directly proportional change in two related quantities: linear relationship
More example sentences
  • Of course the relationship is not linear and directly causal, but more complex.
  • This represents a strong linear relationship between size of drainage and number of species present.
  • The proposed graph underlines the linear relation between dose and risk.
2Progressing from one stage to another in a single series of steps; sequential: a linear narrative
More example sentences
  • Quantitative research can be characterized as a linear series of steps moving from theory to conclusions.
  • No wonder some critics think that Shanghaiese are not ready to see a Pina Bausch show because they have not surpassed the stage of merely appreciating linear narrative.
  • Of course, if this is not to your taste the book could simply be read conventionally as a single linear narrative.



Pronunciation: /lɪnɪˈarɪti/
Example sentences
  • While certain books may gesture towards rhizomatic connectivity, the physical form of the book imposes a certain linearity on the reading experience.
  • The linearity of the creative process is dominant here.
  • In a random world, the linearity of games is a wonderful solace.


Mid 17th century: from Latin linearis, from linea 'a line' (see line1).

Words that rhyme with linear

Abyssinia, Bithynia, curvilinear, Gdynia, gloxinia, interlinear, Lavinia, rectilinear, Sardinia, triclinia, Virginia, zinnia

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lin¦ear

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