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

According to information posted on the city’s website, the project also includes nearly 1,900 linear feet of an 8-inch waterline from Sugar Ridge Road to Westfield Drive., "Historic Sally’s West Shore Pub coming down: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 12 July 2019 The quakes didn’t involve a single fault that broke twice, along a linear line. San Diego Union-Tribune, "This week’s back-to-back quakes unlikely to trigger the ‘Big One’ in Southern California," 7 July 2019 The linear park with the creek would go just north of the Civic Center Complex. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Waterfront development in West Valley? Land owner says it's coming," 29 June 2019 And the spin cycle of time will slough off the footnotes and find the linear narrative. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: The West Coast LGBTQ activism that predated Stonewall," 28 June 2019 Using his katana and time powers, Zero explores a linear neo-noir world, slicing through his enemies, reflecting bullets, and avoiding obstacles. Matthew Gault, Time, "The Best Video Games of 2019 (So Far)," 26 June 2019 The experience of watching the whole show has resonance that doesn’t have to be linear or literal or explained to you. Greg Braxton,, "'Legion's' Noah Hawley wants to build you more than an emotional roller coaster," 24 June 2019 The team even sources ultralight motors called linear actuators capable of generating enough force to lift more than a pound while weighing only about as much as a ballpoint pen. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD students restore motion to five-year-old boy’s arms," 15 June 2019 Not surprisingly, the process is not entirely linear. Carolyn Kellogg,, "Rediscovering Clarice Lispector, the Brazilian author who blurs the lines of dreams," 13 June 2019

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

19 Jul 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

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