Definition of rectilinear in English:


(also rectilineal)


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

    ‘a rectilinear waveform’
    • ‘Inside the layout was rectilinear, with small single-room square houses lining the ramparts and a series of straight streets.’
    • ‘I worked out the equivalent points on a rectilinear grid using trigonometry.’
    • ‘The clean lines of the rectilinear podium maintain a relationship with the low-rise, urban fabric of the city.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ostensibly modernist abstractions, they consist of optically charged rectilinear patterns of internally opposed two-color and three-color systems.’
    • ‘Her first painting in an abstract style, A Quiet Place, suggests an ambiguously defined courtyard flanked by rectilinear columns and passageways.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They encouraged architectural readings through the intersection of diagonal and rectilinear bars and planes of color.’
    • ‘Slate floor tiles and boxlike built-in cherry wall cabinets - some of which are open for display - establish the room's rectilinear frame.’
    • ‘A number of paintings from 1963 utilize single ellipses against rectilinear backgrounds of contrasting hues.’
    • ‘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 mid-portion of the pressure-volume curve appears to be virtually rectilinear.’
    • ‘‘The interconnecting and in part rectilinear character of the network of white lines does not suggest origin by chemical inhibition,’ Wells suggested.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Straight lines meet curved; rectilinear bases rise to occasional arches and on up to golden domes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.