rec·​ti·​lin·​e·​ar | \ ˌrek-tə-ˈli-nē-ər How to pronounce rectilinear (audio) \

Definition of rectilinear

1 : moving in or forming a straight line rectilinear motion
2 : characterized by straight lines the rectilinear skyline of a modern city

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Other Words from rectilinear

rectilinearity \ ˌrek-​tə-​ˌli-​nē-​ˈer-​ə-​tē How to pronounce rectilinear (audio) , -​ˈa-​rə-​tē \ noun
rectilinearly adverb

Examples of rectilinear in a Sentence

the rectilinear skyline of a modern city
Recent Examples on the Web The perforated paper then became a negative for printing a rectilinear abstraction—a monochrome Mondrian. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, 16 June 2021 Gordon Bunshaft, chief architect of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, designed the low, sleekly rectilinear building, which opened in 1957, and Florence Knoll conjured interiors that elided the difference between work and life. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 26 Apr. 2021 When the passenger elevator birthed the high-rise office building, the rectilinear matrix flowed up toward the clouds. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 26 Apr. 2021 Freud’s body, for instance, is conscribed by a rectilinear structure built around (or extending out of) a bed’s headboard. Sophie Madeline Dess, The Atlantic, 25 Mar. 2021 The 15,600-square-foot house is spread over three levels that interface with nearly 7,000 square feet of terraces, gardens and pools, lending the rectilinear structure an open relationship to its surroundings. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 13 Mar. 2021 In the public imagination, Fendi is best known for the rectilinear Baguette bag designed by Venturini Fendi. Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Feb. 2021 Even more alarming, one particular rendering showed a white-and-beige, mostly rectilinear and glowy room that would be unobjectionable — even pretty nice — in a boutique hotel or law office. Christopher Bonanos, Curbed, 9 Feb. 2021 The movements of snakes have long been classified into four types: concertina locomotion, lateral undulation, rectilinear locomotion, and sidewinding. Tess Joosse, Science | AAAS, 11 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rectilinear.' 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 rectilinear

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rectilinear

Late Latin rectilineus, from Latin rectus + linea line

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Time Traveler for rectilinear

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The first known use of rectilinear was in 1651

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Dictionary Entries Near rectilinear



rectilinear coordinate

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Cite this Entry

“Rectilinear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of rectilinear

: made with straight lines : having many straight lines

More from Merriam-Webster on rectilinear

Britannica English: Translation of rectilinear for Arabic Speakers


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