matrilineal descent

(noun) Tracing an individual’s descent through their mother’s side of the family.

Audio Pronunciation: (mat·ri·lin·e·al de·scent)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: matrilineal descents
  • In matrilineal societies the mother’s brother or uncle typically has responsibilities related to the sons. This kinship pattern is referred to as avunculate.
  • Matrilateral (also called uterine) refers to a person’s relations on their mother’s side.
  • A type of unilineal descent.
  • In contrast to matrilineal descent, patrilineal descent is tracing an individual’s descent through their father’s side of the family.
  • Also called:
    • female-line
    • matrilineality
    • matrilinear descent
    • matriliny
    • uterine descent
  • Matrilineal descent used in a sentence: A genealogist can trace matrilineal descent.
  • A genealogist can trace descent (adverb) matrilineally through the mother’s side.

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