[ma-truh-lin-ee-uhl, mey-]
inheriting or determining descent through the female line.
Also, matrilinear.
Compare patrilineal.

1900–05; matri- + lineal

matrilineally, matrilinearly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
matrilineal (ˌmætrɪˈlɪnɪəl, ˌmeɪ-)
relating to descent or kinship through the female line

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1904, from matri- (see matriarch) + lineal.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

matrilineal mat·ri·lin·e·al (māt'rə-lĭn'ē-əl)
Relating to, based on, or tracing ancestral descent through the maternal line.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
matrilineal [(mat-ruh-lin-ee-uhl)]

Tracing kinship and descent through the female line. (Compare patrilineal.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
As many as four generations of whales live together in some of these matrilineal groups.
Sometime before the development of writing, the shift took place from matrilineal to patrilineal societies, then to patriarchy.
The reconstructed matrilineal history of brown and polar bears has two striking features.
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