lin·​e·​ar | \ ˈli-nē-ər How to pronounce linear (audio) \

Definition of linear

1a(1) : of, relating to, resembling, or having a graph that is a line and especially a straight line : straight
(2) : involving a single dimension
b(1) : of the first degree with respect to one or more variables
c(1) : characterized by an emphasis on line linear art
(2) : composed of simply drawn lines with little attempt at pictorial representation linear script
d : consisting of a straight chain of atoms a linear molecule
2 : elongated with nearly parallel sides linear leaf — see leaf illustration
3 : having or being a response or output that is directly proportional to the input
4 : of, relating to, or based or depending on sequential development linear thinking a linear narrative

Other Words from linear

linearity \ ˌli-​nē-​ˈer-​ə-​tē How to pronounce linear (audio) , -​ˈa-​rə-​ \ noun
linearly \ ˈli-​nē-​ər-​lē How to pronounce linear (audio) \ adverb

Examples of linear in a Sentence

a flat, almost linear horizon the bullets from early firearms were notorious for not following a strictly linear path through the air
Recent Examples on the Web The effect isn’t linear: as the planet gets hotter, the sky gets even thirstier. Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 Here, though, Kirby’s leaps through time come to seem a bit like window dressing on a story that’s surprisingly linear, moving towards solving the mystery of her selves. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 26 Apr. 2022 Holly Hunt and Roche Bobois furniture throughout; custom made doors; custom-drawn, linear, 11-foot fireplace. Applause! Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 24 Mar. 2022 The trajectory was non-linear, protracted, and required the right timing and conditions (a tight cycle) to deliver the tailwind to the macroeconomy. Paul Swartz, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2022 Just like training, returning from injury is highly individual, maddeningly non-linear, and clouded with uncertainty. Sarah Barker, Outside Online, 9 Mar. 2021 Here’s the other thing about continuous or linear flow of information: there is loss. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 29 Apr. 2022 The two most popular styles of training in powerlifting are conjugate and linear. Roger Lockridge, Men's Health, 26 Apr. 2022 The story almost feels too linear for its visions: The attractive shock of the design demands plotless immersion — but wait, there’s an incesty plot-twist to get to, and wait, some of those people lurking in the background have got to die first. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'linear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of linear

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

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Time Traveler for linear

Time Traveler

The first known use of linear was circa 1656

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Dictionary Entries Near linear



Linear A

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Statistics for linear

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Linear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for linear


lin·​ear | \ ˈli-nē-ər How to pronounce linear (audio) \

Kids Definition of linear

1 : made up of, relating to, or like a line : straight
2 : involving a single dimension


lin·​ear | \ ˈlin-ē-ər How to pronounce linear (audio) \

Medical Definition of linear

: of, relating to, or resembling a line

Other Words from linear

linearity \ ˌlin-​ē-​ˈar-​ət-​ē How to pronounce linear (audio) \ noun, plural linearities
linearly \ ˈlin-​ē-​ər-​lē How to pronounce linear (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on linear

Nglish: Translation of linear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of linear for Arabic Speakers


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