1 of 2


: a gradient of morphological or physiological change in a group of related organisms usually along a line of environmental or geographic transition
clinal adjective
clinally adverb


2 of 2

noun combining form

: slope

Examples of cline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The primary cline of genetic variation in Europe is North-South, with a secondary one going from West-East. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 28 Feb. 2012 Some degree of gene flow from sub-Saharan Africa can be detected in the southern part of North Africa and in Saharawi and Southeastern Moroccans, as a result of a continuous gene flow across the Sahara desert that has created a south-north cline of sub-Saharan Africa influence in North Africa. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 17 Dec. 2011 Recent reports have identified a north–south cline in genetic variation in East and South-East Asia, but these studies have not formally explored the basis of these clinical differences. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 27 July 2011 In short, the Romani exhibit a classic admixture cline pattern. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2012 The top-line result is that a substantial minority of European ancestry, with a southwest-northeast cline, may be of East Eurasian provenance. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 17 Sep. 2012 There's a rather clear cline of declining Melanesian admixture as one moves west across the Indonesian archipelago. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 22 Sep. 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cline.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Greek klinein

Noun combining form

back-formation from -clinal

First Known Use


1938, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cline was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near cline

Cite this Entry

“Cline.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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