matrilineal

adjective
ma·​tri·​lin·​eal | \ ˌma-trə-ˈli-nē-əl How to pronounce matrilineal (audio) , ˌmā- \

Definition of matrilineal

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

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Other Words from matrilineal

matrilineally \ ˌma-​trə-​ˈli-​nē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce matrilineally (audio) , ˌmā-​ \ adverb

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.

Examples of matrilineal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their matrilineal great-grandparents immigrated to Canada after enduring volcanic eruptions in the area. Fortune, "Canadian Brand Therma Kōta Is on a Mission to Make Outerwear Cool," 25 Aug. 2019 While Kravitz has gone to emotional depths to portray the complexities of matrilineal trauma, her talented performance is stunted by lackluster writing. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, "‘Big Little Lies’ tried to fix its Bonnie problem. Season 2 made it even more glaring.," 23 July 2019 While Kravitz has gone to emotional depths to portray the complexities of matrilineal trauma, her talented performance is stunted by lackluster writing. Bethonie Butler, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: ‘Big Little Lies’ tried to fix its Bonnie problem, but Season 2 made it even more glaring," 23 July 2019 On Twitter, Erin Biba, a science writer for National Geographic, went viral for pointing out that lion prides are matrilineal societies. Nora Mcgreevy, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Lion King’ remake offers a muffled roar," 17 July 2019 In fact, lion prides are matrilineal societies where the males barely stick around long enough to form the types of familial relationships shown in the Disney film, an all-new version of which comes out this July. Erin Biba, National Geographic, "In real life, Simba’s mom would be running the pride," 8 July 2019 Not your mother’s business A study compared patriarchal and matrilineal tribes in Bangladesh with respect to entrepreneurship. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Getting to know your opponent," 4 May 2018 However, the situation was completely reversed — with women being more entrepreneurial — in the matrilineal tribes. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Getting to know your opponent," 4 May 2018 Asante culture is matrilineal, with property transmitted through the female line. Susan Delson, WSJ, "In Dallas, the Golden Legacy of Ghana," 12 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of matrilineal

1904, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of matrilineal was in 1904

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Cite this Entry

“Matrilineal.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrilineal. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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More Definitions for matrilineal

matrilineal

adjective
ma·​tri·​lin·​eal | \ ˌma-trə-ˈlin-ē-əl How to pronounce matrilineal (audio) , ˌmā- How to pronounce matrilineal (audio) \

Medical Definition of matrilineal

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

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