Definition of matrilineal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌmatrɪˈlɪnɪəl/


Of or based on kinship with the mother or the female line: a society founded on the matrilineal kinship principle
More example sentences
  • A kinship system based on matrilineal clans was the source of Cherokee identity and the sinew of society.
  • Many of Indonesia's ethnic groups have strong kinship groupings based upon patrilineal, matrilineal, or bilateral descent.
  • The Akan domestic arrangements are based on matrilineal principles.



Example sentences
  • The matrilineal moieties, for example, articulate the matrilineally transmitted ‘flesh’ or totems.
  • Family relations are traced back equally both matrilineally and patrilineally, and active kin groups often extend to the great-grandparents.
  • Land rights pass patrilineally or matrilineally to surviving members of kin groups.


Early 20th century: from Latin mater, matr- 'mother' + lineal.

Words that rhyme with matrilineal

finial, lineal, patrilineal
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