Definition of matrilineal adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˌmætrɪˈlɪniəl//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌmætrɪˈlɪniəl//
(specialist) Family background
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used to describe the relationship between mother and children that continues in a family with each generation, or something that is based on this relationship She traced her family history by matrilineal descent (= starting with her mother, her mother's mother, etc.). compare patrilineal See related entries: Family background Word Originearly 20th cent.: from Latin mater, matr- ‘mother’ + lineal.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: matrilineal