from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Belonging to or being in the direct line of descent from an ancestor.
  • adj. Derived from or relating to a particular line of descent; hereditary.
  • adj. Linear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of a family relationship that includes mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, and sons, etc. as opposed to collateral.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Descending in a direct line from an ancestor; hereditary; derived from ancestors; -- opposed to collateral.
  • adj. Inheriting by direct descent; having the right by direct descent to succeed (to).
  • adj. Composed of lines; delineated.
  • adj. In the direction of a line; of or pertaining to a line; measured on, or ascertained by, a line; linear.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to a line or length; extending in a line; involving the single dimension of length: as, lineal measure; a lineal foot.
  • Proceeding in a direct or unbroken line; hereditary; unbroken in course: distinguished from collateral: as, lineal descent; lineal succession.
  • Pertaining or relating to direct descent; hereditary in quality or character; having an ancestral basis or right.
  • Allied by direct descent.
  • Of or pertaining to the line or officers of the line in the army or navy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. arranged in a line
  • adj. in a straight unbroken line of descent from parent to child


Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin līneālis, consisting of lines, from Latin līnea, line; see line1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin līneālis, from līnea ("a line"); see line. (Wiktionary)



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