Definition of rectilinear in US English:


(also rectilineal)


  • 1Contained by, consisting of, or moving in a straight line or lines.

    ‘a rectilinear waveform’
    • ‘Straight lines meet curved; rectilinear bases rise to occasional arches and on up to golden domes.’
    • ‘They encouraged architectural readings through the intersection of diagonal and rectilinear bars and planes of color.’
    • ‘The clean lines of the rectilinear podium maintain a relationship with the low-rise, urban fabric of the city.’
    • ‘I worked out the equivalent points on a rectilinear grid using trigonometry.’
    • ‘The mid-portion of the pressure-volume curve appears to be virtually rectilinear.’
    • ‘Her first painting in an abstract style, A Quiet Place, suggests an ambiguously defined courtyard flanked by rectilinear columns and passageways.’
    • ‘Flattened columns measuring about 2 feet in height, they feature irregular curves wedded to a rectilinear vertical edge - a motif echoed in some of the paintings.’
    • ‘Hints of rectilinear buildings raise the possibility that the village may have switched to more Roman architectural styles in the latter part of the Roman period.’
    • ‘The third law says that the motion of any moving body tends to be rectilinear, even if in fact it is circular or curved through collision.’
    • ‘Slate floor tiles and boxlike built-in cherry wall cabinets - some of which are open for display - establish the room's rectilinear frame.’
    • ‘Such circles and lines, plus arabesques and rectilinear passages, occur in most of the work that follows.’
    • ‘A long corridor acts as a horizontal spine connecting many small alcoves and hallways while an exposed concrete volume punctures this rectilinear framework as an enigmatic vertical intervention.’
    • ‘Ostensibly modernist abstractions, they consist of optically charged rectilinear patterns of internally opposed two-color and three-color systems.’
    • ‘Inside the layout was rectilinear, with small single-room square houses lining the ramparts and a series of straight streets.’
    • ‘‘The interconnecting and in part rectilinear character of the network of white lines does not suggest origin by chemical inhibition,’ Wells suggested.’
    • ‘He has designed gardens in keeping with minimal art - and also with the simple, rectilinear logic of early-twentieth-century industrial architecture.’
    • ‘‘People are surprised that I can do so detailed a rectilinear structure,’ he says of the building's off-white limestone wrapper.’
    • ‘The open atrium acoustically separates this curved form from the main rectilinear block that houses the National Library collections in a flexible framework of levels.’
    • ‘A number of paintings from 1963 utilize single ellipses against rectilinear backgrounds of contrasting hues.’
    • ‘The former is seen in the rectilinear and symmetrical designs, including some carvings and moldings that are formed with characteristic Regency strapwork, grotesques, and classical motifs from antiquity.’
    1. 1.1Photography Relating to a straight line or lines.
      ‘rectilinear distortion’
      • ‘However, most people who are accustomed to looking at photographs have gotten over the naive demand that everything in photographs be rendered rectilinear.’
    2. 1.2Photography (of a wide-angle lens) corrected as much as possible, so that straight lines in the subject appear straight in the image.
      • ‘The lenses were reported as the largest ever ground for photographic work-the telescopic rectilinear lens being 11 feet equivalent focus.’
      • ‘A software algorithm corrects the side view for magnification distortion and converts the image to rectilinear coordinates.’


Mid 17th century: from late Latin rectilineus (from Latin rectus ‘straight’ + linea ‘line’) + -ar.