inheriting or determining descent through the female line.
Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
- Also mat·ri·lin·e·ar [ma-truh-lin-ee-er, mey-] /ˌmæ trəˈlɪn i ər, ˌmeɪ-/ .
- mat·ri·lin·e·al·ly, mat·ri·lin·e·ar·ly, adverb
- Compare patrilineal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use matrilineal in a sentence
Out in the deep ocean, sperm whales live in extremely social matrilineal family units that mingle in groups within a given clan, which are distinguished by particular dialects and behaviors.Sperm whales have a surprisingly deep—and useful—culture | Ellie Shechet | March 19, 2021 | Popular-Science
By strict Jewish law, which follows a matrilineal line, Giffords is not a Jew.
At the present day the kinship may be matrilineal or patrilineal without affecting their right.
The area covered by the dichotomous organisations is divided almost equally between matrilineal and patrilineal tribes.
The arrangement suggests that matrilineal descent prevails, but there is probably some error.
We also know approximately the limits of the matrilineal and patrilineal systems.
The clan, it is true, whether matrilineal or patrilineal, tends at the totemic level of society to eclipse the family.Anthropology | Robert Marett
British Dictionary definitions for matrilineal
relating to descent or kinship through the female line
- matrilineally, adverb
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
Cultural definitions for matrilineal
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.