Definition of cline in English:



  • 1A continuum with an infinite number of gradations from one extreme to the other.

    ‘a point along a cline of activity’
    • ‘Is there evidence of broad or narrow clines in vocal characters?’
    • ‘In sober fact, just for those moments, the cline between two weathers must I suppose have been only a couple of hundred yards wide and it just happened to coincide with the track.’
    1. 1.1Biology A gradation in one or more characteristics within a species or other taxon, especially between different populations.
      See also ecocline
      • ‘Both genetic and morphological clines along the Virginia transect were steeper than along the West Virginia transect.’
      • ‘Even within a subspecies, vocalizations vary between sample points in a manner consistent with points along a cline.’
      • ‘There are numerous examples of population differentiation in body size and development time along latitudinal and elevational clines.’
      • ‘In that study, the deflexus characters were reported to change to inflexus, and to coincide with a reduction in flower size along the geographical cline.’
      • ‘Here, when there is cooperativity and the repressive activities of u and v are balanced the null clines, being sigmoids, intersect three times.’


1930s: from Greek klinein to slope.