[ klahyn ]
/ klaɪn /
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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.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of cline

1935–40; <Greek klī́nein to lean1


clinal, adjectiveclin·al·ly, adverb

Other definitions for cline (2 of 2)

[ klahyn ]
/ klaɪn /

Patsy Virginia Patterson Hensley, 1932–63, U.S. country singer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use cline in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cline (1 of 3)

/ (klaɪn) /

a continuous variation in form between members of a species having a wide variable geographical or ecological range

Derived forms of cline

clinal, adjectiveclinally, adverb

Word Origin for cline

C20: from Greek klinein to lean

British Dictionary definitions for cline (2 of 3)

/ (klaɪn) /

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"

British Dictionary definitions for cline (3 of 3)


n combining form
indicating a slopeanticline

Derived forms of -cline

-clinal, adj combining form

Word Origin for -cline

back formation from incline
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for cline

[ klīn ]

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.