[lin-ee-uh l]
  1. being in the direct line, as a descendant or ancestor, or in a direct line, as descent or succession.
  2. of or transmitted by lineal descent.
  3. linear.

Origin of lineal

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Late Latin word līneālis. See line1, -al1
Related formslin·e·al·ly, adverbmul·ti·lin·e·al, adjectivenon·lin·e·al, adjectiveun·lin·e·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for non-lineal


  1. being in a direct line of descent from an ancestor
  2. of, involving, or derived from direct descent
  3. a less common word for linear
Derived Formslineally, adverb

Word Origin for lineal

C14: via Old French from Late Latin līneālis, from Latin līnea line 1
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

Word Origin and History for non-lineal



late 14c., from Old French lineal (14c.), from Late Latin linealis "pertaining to a line," from linea (see line (n.)). Related: Lineally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper