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

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Other Words from linear

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

Flickr Creative Commons/Matthew Wilder Chicago’s 606, a former industrial rail line turned linear park on the city’s near northwest side, opened in 2015 and has quickly become a part of daily life. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can high-profile park projects, catalysts for development, play nice with neighboring communities?," 17 July 2018 Surprises and difficulty spikes The problem is that VC4 is a very linear game. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Valkyria Chronicles 4 review: Same as it ever was," 21 Sep. 2018 With these tools Darré might channel the linear elegance of the suit-wearing Jean Cocteau. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vincent Darré, Surrealist Dandy of Paris, Discusses His New Book and Dashing Personal Style," 25 Feb. 2019 Sarah pressed the needles into my skin in a linear pattern, poking teeny tiny holes into the surface of my face. Jillian Ruffo,, "We Tried It: The $650 'Penis Facial' That Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett Swear By," 17 May 2018 This would have immediate consequences for our streets, most of which are lined by stationary cars—in effect, linear parking lots. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "‘The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility’ Review: Future Imperfect," 10 Jan. 2019 Lots of projects come about in a very linear way, but this was the antithesis. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Artist Doug Aitken's Stunning New Detroit Exhibit Holds a Mirror Up to the Way America Lives," 8 Oct. 2018 The cost of creating new stuff is not linear, right? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Wearables pioneer Jawbone is back with a new mission: Warning you about health problems you didn’t know you had," 26 Sep. 2018 The script by Bernstein’s daughter and George Steel (the show is produced by Copland House) isn’t linear biography or musicological investigation. Peter Dobrin,, "'Late Night' takes a spin through Leonard Bernstein's big brain," 22 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of linear

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

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Statistics for linear

Last Updated

29 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for linear

The first known use of linear was circa 1656

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More Definitions for linear



English Language Learners Definition of linear

: formed by lines : made up of lines
: forming a line
: of or relating to the length of something


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on linear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for linear

Spanish Central: Translation of linear

Nglish: Translation of linear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of linear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on linear

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using a distributed computer network

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