matrilineal

adjective ma·tri·lin·eal \ ˌma-trə-ˈli-nē-əl , ˌmā- \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of matrilineal

:relating to, based on, or tracing descent through the maternal line
  • matrilineal society

matrilineally

play \-nē-ə-lē\ adverb

Recent Examples of matrilineal from the Web

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

Did You Know?

A person's lineage is his or her line of ancestors. So matrilineal means basically "through the mother's line", just as patrilineal means "through the father's line". Matrilineality is an important concept in anthropology; among other things, it usually determines who will inherit property on a person's death. Though families that follow the European model take the father's name and are therefore patrilineal, matrilineal societies have existed around the world, including among various American Indian tribes.

First Known Use of matrilineal

1904


Medical Dictionary

matrilineal

adjective ma·tri·lin·eal \ ˌma-trə-ˈlin-ē-əl , ˌmā- \

medical Definition of matrilineal

:relating to, based on, or tracing descent through the maternal line
  • a matrilineal society

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