Meaning of non-linear in English:


Pronunciation /nɒnˈlɪnɪə/


  • 1Not arranged in a straight line.

    unmethodical, uncoordinated, undirected, disorganized, unarranged, unplanned, unpremeditated, indiscriminate
    1. 1.1Mathematics Denoting or involving an equation whose terms are not of the first degree.
      ‘Norman decided to shift his field from gap and density theorems to non-linear differential equations, both ordinary and partial.’
      • ‘The non-linear differential equation describing the growth of a biological population which he deduced and studied is now named after him.’
      • ‘It was then that he became aware of the mysteries underlying the subject of non-linear partial differential equations.’
      • ‘He also investigated mathematical questions which were related to these applications, in particular writing important works on non-linear integral equations.’
      • ‘This approximation was adopted in the model because of the mathematical difficulties in solving non-linear systems of equations.’
    2. 1.2Physics Involving a lack of linearity between two related qualities such as input and output.
      ‘a non-linear network’
      • ‘If matter is present where the photons cross, non-linear effects caused by accelerated electric charges may allow the photons to interact.’
      • ‘Other non-linear factors also contribute to increase the resulting gain disparity between wavelengths.’
      • ‘It will build on Hull's existing expertise in linear and non-linear acoustical properties of materials, aspects of outdoor acoustics and in silencer design and combustion noise.’
      • ‘These indices characterize the relationship between linear elastic behaviour and non-linear behaviour of the material.’
      • ‘He talked about proportionality in linear and non-linear relationships.’
    3. 1.3Mathematics Involving measurement in more than one dimension.
  • 2Not sequential or straightforward.

    ‘Joyce's stream-of-consciousness, non-linear narrative’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the film itself was a bit slow-paced and difficult to follow, with a non-linear narrative structure.’
    • ‘Will UK readers cope with the experimental, non-linear narrative structure?’
    • ‘Sometimes these are the visual equivalent of a non-linear narrative.’
    • ‘I stress the fact that travel (as opposed, perhaps, to tourism) is a non-linear experience, and that travel narratives written in a non-linear way are generally the most engaging.’
    • ‘Although the film begins with a gun pressed firmly against The Boss's skull and promises to unfold unpredictably, any thoughts of a non-linear narrative similar to that of Post Mortem soon fall by the wayside.’
    • ‘And the work also asks you to construct narrative in a completely non-linear way with no real direction towards ‘truth’.’
    • ‘People leave the theatre either gleefully ruminating over what it all means, or cursing the day non-linear narrative was invented.’
    • ‘The narrative technique is deliberately non-linear and complex, the language richly poetic and suffused with biblical references.’
    • ‘I enjoy the non-linear narrative and authentic representation of Mexican culture.’
    • ‘The loose, non-linear narrative is almost poetic in the way that it is structured.’
    • ‘His mastery over the craft of cinema is evidenced in the manner he has tightly woven the narrative, which in this case is a non-linear one.’
    • ‘The storyline jumps forward and backward in time in non-linear fragments.’
    • ‘I was thinking more along the lines of composing these non-linear narratives.’
    • ‘Some kind of story was being told but it was in a non-linear, fragmentary kind of way.’
    • ‘Its central story is atmospheric and makes good use of non-linear storytelling without stepping over the line into pretension.’
    • ‘But despite the fact that the missions make up a comprehensive story line, the game is entirely non-linear.’
    • ‘The plot unravels episodically and in a non-linear fashion, with characters from one segment occasionally appearing in, or passing through, another.’
    • ‘Gondry, who is no stranger to playing with time, makes superb use of non-linear storytelling as he ingeniously whips through the story's physical and temporal, back-and-forth plot.’
    • ‘The non-linear screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr. (adapted from a novel by Richard Hooker) is filled with a lot of jokes and one liners that were highly amusing.’
    • ‘As rock climbers, we are taught to think in linear and non-linear ways.’
  • 3Of or denoting digital editing whereby a sequence of edits is stored on computer as opposed to videotape.

    ‘And you will need a three machine edit suite or a non-linear computer editing system to achieve this.’
    • ‘The videotapes were digitized, and processed through a computer based non-linear video editing system.’
    • ‘For editing non-linear computer editing is the only way to go.’
    • ‘The key to all of this is non-linear computer editing.’
    • ‘This has certainly been the case with non-linear digital editing systems.’


    go non-linear
    • Become very excited or angry, especially about a particular obsession.

      • ‘don't mention the drug problem or he'll go non-linear for hours’