- Biology. the gradual change in certain characteristics exhibited by members of a series of adjacent populations of organisms of the same species.
- Linguistics. (in systemic linguistics) a scale of continuous gradation; continuum.
Origin of cline
1935–40; < Greek klī́nein to lean1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for clinal
No clinal variation in diameter of the guard hairs was detected.
Geographic variation in these measurements is clinal in some species.
Clinal variation, from north to south, is shown in the decreasing length of the nasals.Speciation in the Kangaroo Rat, Dipodomys ordii
Henry W. Setzer
The number of pale specimens in any given series decreases gradually in a clinal pattern from west to east.Geographic Variation in the Pocket Gopher, Thomys bottae, in Colorado
Phillip M. Youngman
One of the species of Trinomys, Proechimys iheringi, is here subdivided into six subspecies which show a clinal variation.Speciation in the Brazilian Spiny Rats
- a continuous variation in form between members of a species having a wide variable geographical or ecological range
C20: from Greek klinein to lean
- Patsy, original name Virginia Patterson Hensley . 1932–63, US country singer; her bestselling records include "Walking After Midnight", "I Fall to Pieces", and "Leavin' On Your Mind"
Word Origin and History for clinal
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A gradual change in an inherited characteristic across the geographic range of a species, usually correlated with an environmental transition such as altitude, temperature, or moisture. For example, the body size in a species of warm-blooded animals tends to be larger in cooler climates (a latitudinal cline), while the flowering time of a plant may tend to be later at higher altitudes (an altitudinal cline). In species in which the gene flow between adjacent populations is high, the cline is typically smooth, whereas in populations with restricted gene flow the cline usually occurs as a series of relatively abrupt changes from one group to the next.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.