unilineal descent

(noun) Tracing an individual’s descent through one sex only, either through the father (patrilineal) or mother (matrilineal).

Audio Pronunciation: (u·ni·li·ne·al de·scent)

Download Audio Pronunciation: unilineal descent.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: unilineal descents
  • This is a simplified definition of a vast continuum of societal and cultural practices.
  • In contrast to unilineal descent, nonunilineal descent (also called cognatic descent) traces descent through the father or mother.
  • Types:
    • ambilineal descent
    • patrilineal
    • matrilineal
  • Also called:
    • unilateral descent
    • unilineage
    • unilineality
  • Unilineal descent used in a sentence: Numerous cultures around the world use unilineal descent systems.

Related Terms:


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kendall, Diane. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

How to Cite the Definition of Unilineal Descent

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “unilineal descent.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved January 23, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/unilineal-descent/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

unilineal descent. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/unilineal-descent/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “unilineal descent.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed January 23, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/unilineal-descent/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“unilineal descent.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 23 Jan. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/unilineal-descent/>.