Word of the Day Archive
Sunday May 13, 2012
Inheriting or determining descent through the female line.
In a matrilineal society, in a matriarchy, and especially in this particular matriarchy, the women, as I've already said, control the houses, the lineage of the children, and a lot of decisions about marriage and so forth.
-- Patrice E. M. Hollrah, The Old Lady Trill, the Victory Yell
Several of the women I talked to had decided to challenge the influence of the matrilineal clan and to bequeath part of their land to their sons. The ways they had chosen in this regard were however quite different.
-- Birgit Englert and Elizabeth Daley, Women's Land Rights & Privatization in Eastern Africa
Matrilineal was first used in the early 1900s by anthropologists. It derives from the Late Latin roots matri- meaning "mother" and lineal meaning "line."