lin·​e·​ar ˈli-nē-ər How to pronounce linear (audio)
: of, relating to, resembling, or having a graph that is a line and especially a straight line : straight
: involving a single dimension
: of the first degree with respect to one or more variables
: characterized by an emphasis on line
linear art
: composed of simply drawn lines with little attempt at pictorial representation
linear script
: consisting of a straight chain of atoms
a linear molecule
: elongated with nearly parallel sides
linear leaf
see leaf illustration
: having or being a response or output that is directly proportional to the input
: of, relating to, or based or depending on sequential development
linear thinking
a linear narrative
linearity noun
linearly 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 If linear, meaning the storms group together, stronger winds and tornadoes are more possible. Journal Sentinel, 16 Apr. 2024 The series kept drawing in audiences eager to see Turner find love again, with the season finale reaching 6.95 million linear viewers. Tatiana Tenreyro, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Apr. 2024 Sony puts two linear focus motors inside, which are fast enough to track and focus at up to 120fps for stills on compatible cameras like the a9 III, as well as keep subjects in focus during high-speed video recordings. PCMAG, 16 Apr. 2024 In Santa Barbara County, high winds damaged homes in Goleta and tore off part of a windmill in Solvang, and rain overwhelmed concrete channels that divert water from residential areas, destroying 300 linear feet of them, Newsom wrote. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2024 Logic is choreographic and compositional rather than intellectual and linear. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 13 Apr. 2024 According to the country’s constitution, adopted in 1952, the throne is hereditary to King Abdullah Ibn Al-Hussein’s dynasty and passes in linear succession from the king to his eldest son, and so on. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 10 Apr. 2024 The biggest fiction premiere on free-to-air Spanish television in the past two years, racking up a 14.1% market share and 2.0 million viewers on its linear Feb. 25 bow, the daily series opens with a tense chase through lush forests. Holly Jones, Variety, 9 Apr. 2024 Ryan Lahiff The living room is highlighted by a linear fireplace and walls of glass spilling outdoors. Wendy Bowman, Robb Report, 8 Apr. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of linear was circa 1656

Dictionary Entries Near linear

Cite this Entry

“Linear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: relating to, consisting of, or resembling a line : straight
: involving a single dimension
: of, relating to, based on, or being linear equations or linear functions
: long and uniformly narrow
the linear leaf of the hyacinth

Medical Definition


lin·​ear ˈlin-ē-ər How to pronounce linear (audio)
: of, relating to, or resembling a line
linearity noun
plural linearities
linearly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on linear

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