9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 nonlinear
  • They desire to be part of a generational dynamic which promises to change history in a positive and nonlinear direction.
  • The effect of absence on principles of economics performance is nonlinear, becoming important after four absences.
  • Remember that fluid mechanics is a useful model for explaining sustained vocal fold oscillation, however the process is nonlinear.
  • Human history is highly nonlinear and unpredictable.
  • Such unusual, nonlinear behavior could help microchips get smaller.
  • nonlinear scaling of space use in human hunter-gatherers.
  • The market is a nonlinear unstable dynamical system.
  • In other words, the marginal utility curve of increased inputs into education is nonlinear and probably haystack shaped.
  • What the digital approach allows you to do is take a tangential and nonlinear model and use it to expand the world.
  • His specialty is experimental nonlinear physics, investigating how and why patterns emerge in interacting particles.
British Dictionary definitions for nonlinear


not of, in, along, or relating to a line
denoting digital editing in which edits are saved on computer, rather than videotape, thus enabling further edits to be made


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 nonlinear



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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nonlinear 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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nonlinear 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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nonlinear in Technology

(Scientific computation) A property of a system whose output is not proportional to its input. For example, a transistor has a region of input voltages for which its output voltage is found by multiplying the input voltage by the gain of the transistor. Outside this region though, the transistor behaves non-linearly, meaning that it does not obey this simple equation. The behaviour of a system containing non-linear components is thus harder to model and to predict.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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