Definition of matrilineal in English:



  • Of or based on kinship with the mother or the female line.

    ‘a society founded on the matrilineal kinship principle’
    • ‘A kinship system based on matrilineal clans was the source of Cherokee identity and the sinew of society.’
    • ‘Many of Indonesia's ethnic groups have strong kinship groupings based upon patrilineal, matrilineal, or bilateral descent.’
    • ‘The Akan domestic arrangements are based on matrilineal principles.’
    • ‘Each settlement was composed of a small number of households headed by men belonging to a matrilineal kinship unit called a likola.’
    • ‘Presently, matrilineal kinship occupies merely a shadowy and at times nostalgic part of collective Keralite memory.’
    • ‘In addition, property passes from one generation to the next based on matrilineal ties.’
    • ‘Their kinship organization is based on extended matrilineal groups, in which women have a high status.’
    • ‘In matrilineal ethnic groups such as the Wolof, the mother's brother is sent on behalf of the groom to ask for the bride's hand.’
    • ‘The legend continues that in time the kinship system changed from a matrilineal to a patrilineal one (tracing descent through the male line).’
    • ‘Pueblo culture is matrilineal and matrilocal.’
    • ‘Most kin groups tend to be patrilineal and patrilocal, although there are also large categories of matrilineal kin who share rights to land and to local religious and political offices.’
    • ‘They are a matrilineal group (tracing descent through the mother's line).’
    • ‘Kinship and descent may have been organized around matrilineal clans, a common pattern in Micronesia.’
    • ‘In some cultures a village consists of matrilineal kin and their dependents.’
    • ‘The important kin groups are patrilineal and matrilineal lineages and clans.’
    • ‘He also recognizes matrilineal kin groups, linear dominance rank orders, and behaves as if he recognizes his own unique place within them.’
    • ‘Among matrilineal societies, respect for one's mother's brother is marked by the use of polite language and physical avoidance on formal occasions.’
    • ‘Some clans were matrilineal, and children were affiliated with their mother's clan.’
    • ‘The social rank of females is not stable before and during adolescent development, but reproductive females assume a higher matrilineal rank than their older sisters.’
    • ‘The fact that all livestock are inherited along the matrilineal line is exceptional.’


Early 20th century from Latin mater, matr- ‘mother’ + lineal.