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[lin-ee-er] /ˈlɪn i ər/
of, consisting of, or using lines:
linear design.
pertaining to or represented by lines:
linear dimensions.
extended or arranged in a line:
a linear series.
involving measurement in one dimension only; pertaining to length:
linear measure.
of or relating to the characteristics of a work of art in which forms and rhythms are defined chiefly in terms of line.
having the form of or resembling a line:
linear nebulae.
  1. consisting of, involving, or describable by terms of the first degree.
  2. having the same effect on a sum as on each of the summands:
    a linear operation.
Electronics. delivering an output that is directly proportional to the input:
a linear circuit; a linear amplifier.
threadlike; narrow and elongated:
a linear leaf.
Origin of linear
1635-45; < Latin līneāris of, belonging to lines. See line1, -ar1
Related forms
linearly, adverb
nonlinear, adjective
sublinear, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for linear
  • The linear rhythm of the planters' sides repeats in the interlocking bench seat.
  • Shortly after you move away from the entrance, you're propelled upward at high speed by the linear motor.
  • linear time disappears in favor of a poetic meditation upon the object, and within it, a curious juxtaposition of imagery.
  • To be sure, there is neither a simple nor linear cause-and-effect relationship between social psychology and historical events.
  • In the steam era a giant engine powered a central rotating shaft, and machine tools ran off pulleys in long linear factories.
  • Without a linear, alphabetically organized text, one can't count seven nouns ahead.
  • Tells how epidemics do not follow linear patterns.
  • What's more, the relationship between bird extinctions and warming is not linear.
  • So paintings were made up of irregular, interpenetrating ink washes and scattered linear accents.
  • But the linear nature of the narrative refuses connections, and time and again wobbly detail saps the reader's faith.
British Dictionary definitions for linear


of, in, along, or relating to a line
of or relating to length
resembling, represented by, or consisting of a line or lines
having one dimension
designating a style in the arts, esp painting, that obtains its effects through line rather than colour or light and in which the edges of forms and planes are sharply defined Compare painterly
(maths) of or relating to the first degree: a linear equation
narrow and having parallel edges: a linear leaf
  1. (of a circuit, etc) having an output that is directly proportional to input: linear amplifier
  2. having components arranged in a line
Derived Forms
linearity (ˌlɪnɪˈærɪtɪ) noun
linearly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin līneāris of or by means of lines
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
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Word Origin and History for linear

1640s, from French linéaire, from Latin linearis "belonging to a line," from linea "string, line" (see line (n.)). Essentially the same word as lineal; "in Latin linearis the original suffix -alis was dissimilated to -aris, but in Late Latin this rule was no longer productive and the formation or re-formation in -alis remained unchanged." [Barnhart]. Linear A and Linear B (1902-3) were names given to two related forms of linear Minoan writing discovered 1894-1901 in Crete by Sir Arthur Evans.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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linear in Medicine

linear lin·e·ar (lĭn'ē-ər)
Of, relating to, or resembling a line; straight.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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linear in Science
Being or resembling a line.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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