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Moving in, consisting of, bounded by, or characterized by a straight line or lines: following a rectilinear path; rectilinear patterns in wallpaper.

[From Late Latin rēctilīneus : Latin rēctus, right; see reg- in Indo-European roots + Latin līnea, line; see line1.]

rec′ti·lin′e·ar·ly adv.


(ˌrɛktɪˈlɪnɪə) or


1. (Mathematics) in, moving in, or characterized by a straight line or lines: the rectilinear propagation of light.
2. (Mathematics) consisting of, bounded by, or formed by a straight line or lines
ˌrectiˈlinearly, ˌrectiˈlineally adv


(ˌrɛk tlˈɪn i ər)

also rec`ti•lin′e•al,

1. forming a straight line.
2. formed or characterized by straight lines.
3. moving in a straight line.
[1650–60; < Late Latin rēctilīne(us) (rēcti- recti- + -līneus, adj. derivative of Latin līnea line1) + -ar1]
rec`ti•lin′e•ar•ly, adv.


Relating to, consisting of, or moving in a straight line or lines: a rectilinear path.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.rectilinear - characterized by a straight line or lines; "rectilinear patterns in wallpaper"; "the rectilinear propagation of light"
linear, one-dimensional - of or in or along or relating to a line; involving a single dimension; "a linear measurement"


[ˌrektɪˈlɪnɪəʳ] ADJrectilíneo


[ˌrɛktɪˈlɪnɪəʳ] adjrettilineo/a
rectilinear motion → moto rettilineo
References in classic literature ?
The rectilinear movement has thus become changed into a circular motion of extreme velocity, and it is now pursuing an elliptical orbit round the moon, of which it has become a true satellite.
The massive walking-beam rose and fell above the deck; at one end a piston-rod worked up and down; and at the other was a connecting-rod which, in changing the rectilinear motion to a circular one, was directly connected with the shaft of the paddles.
Belfast and Maston-- that it had deviated from its course from some unknown cause, and had not reached its destination; but that it had passed near enough to be retained by the lunar attraction; that its rectilinear movement had been changed to a circular one, and that following an elliptical orbit round the star of night it had become its satellite.
The library's rectilinear outer envelope is defined by its topographic interior atrium that has a spherical ball in the centre of the mirrored auditorium.
000 - provision of maintenance services for elevators and lifting platforms for the movement of disabled people in a wheelchair along a rectilinear inclined trajectory
In addition to these different exercise modalities, rectilinear reciprocating motion is seldom used as a regular exercising modality compared with circular reciprocating motion, such as cycle ergometer.
Because the facility is an ambulatory care center, its interior core was largely dictated by the rectilinear shape of the clinics themselves.
Terms like dipolar force, galactic clock, rectilinear, covalent bonds, codons, cortex, and catalysis find him at ease and brand his poetry rare and earthy.
Depending on the reach and scope of the welding job, manufacturers can choose between articulating robots and rectilinear robots.
Part 2 explains mathematical concepts of group theory and applies them to the analysis of vibration in symmetric systems, such as rectilinear systems, plane structural grids, and high-tension cable nets.
Here, a giant outdoor fireplace is set awkwardly right up next to a rectilinear swimming pool.
rectilinear hole as if the digging alone could constitute