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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.
And it is equally impossible for me to form the abstract idea of motion distinct from the body moving, and which is neither swift nor slow, curvilinear nor rectilinear; and the like may be said of all other abstract general ideas whatsoever.
A Dutch Garden of God where He may walk in rectilinear freedom, keeping off the grass.
The rigorous rectilinear geometry of the exterior contrasts with the soft ergonomic lines of the interior, which is modelled on the curves of a chaise-longue.
Into one quarter of the given rectilinear volume, he has inserted a broad deck with cloakrooms and lavatories below, a cafe and bookstore above on a kind of interior viewing terrace.
In the larger works the atmosphere is subtly broken into rectilinear fragments, as if the image were literally unfolding or falling away in sections before your eyes.
The Romans could not retreat because of a marsh, and according to Tacitus, (2) their last remnants died in heaps on the ramparts of their immaculately ordered rectilinear camp.
Rather, they had been pieced together from clippings with irregular edges, strips of tracing paper marked with graphite lines, the borders broken by extremely precise curved or rectilinear cuts.
High-speed output of high-precision orientation information based on the development of proprietary algorithms and technology for processing detector elements Ability to have preset parameters according to the customer's application Correspondence to six-axis detection algorithms for three rectilinear and three rotational movement in XYZ directions The newly developed product is comprised of the following elemental technologies: Algorithm technology to optimize sensor combination: Technology for high-precision processing of silicon MEMS sensing elements
Their rectangles, concentric circles, and squares hovering inside large rectilinear frames have been compared to the fields of saturated color in the canvases of Rothko and Newman (in the latter's case separated by vertical "zips").