Definitions
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
 adj. Of, relating to, or resembling a line; straight.
 adj. In, of, describing, described by, or related to a straight line.
 adj. Having only one dimension.
 adj. Characterized by, composed of, or emphasizing drawn lines rather than painterly effects.
 adj. Botany Narrow and elongated with nearly parallel margins: a linear leaf.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike License
 adj. Having the form of a line; straight.
 adj. Of or relating to lines.
 adj. Made in a stepbystep, logical manner.
 adj. Long and narrow, with nearly parallel sides.
 adj. Of or relating to a class of polynomial of the form .
 adj. A type of length measurement involving only one spatial dimension (as opposed to area or volume).
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
 adj. Of or pertaining to a line; consisting of lines; in a straight direction; lineal.
 adj. Like a line; narrow; of the same breadth throughout, except at the extremities.
 adj. Thinking in a stepbystep analytical and logical fashion; contrasted with
holistic , i.e. thinking in terms of complex interrelated patterns.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
 Of or pertaining to a line or lines; composed or consisting of lines: as, linear drawing; linear perspective.
 Relating to length only; specifically, in mathematics and physics, involving measurement in one dimension only, or a sum of such measurements; involving only straight lines; unidimensional; of the first degree: as, linear numbers; linear measure.
 In bot., zoöl, and anatomy, like a line or thread; slender; very narrow and elongate: as, a linear leaf.
 In prosody, consisting in or pertaining to a succession of single verses all of the same rhythm and length; stichic: as, linear composition; “Paradise Lost” is linear in composition.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
 adj. measured lengthwise
 adj. designating or involving an equation whose terms are of the first degree
 adj. of or in or along or relating to a line; involving a single dimension
 adj. (of a leaf shape) long and narrow
 adj. of a circuit or device having an output that is proportional to the input
Etymologies
Examples

"The term linear just means that each output bit of the mixing function is the XOR of several of the input bits.",

If you think in linear algebra terms, the linear system is the addition operator, and the nonlinear system is the multiplier (cross product in this case):

Anthropologists get bound up in linear social progression to such an extent that knobgourds are interpreted as meaning/representing all sorts of crazy things, when in reality they just make the wearer feel, you know, sexy.
Cheeseburger Gothic » Yes I get ffkn grmpy whn I’m on fkn deadline.

Add into the mix the fact that the story is not told in linear time the first half of the book is working backwards into history, while the second half works forwards into the future and you start to see the complexity of writing like this.

Astronomers really do measure the moisture content of the atmosphere in linear units (though not in hairs), because what they care about is the total amount of water above the telescope, not the humidity (and certainly not the relative humidity).

Analysis of discontinuities in linear memory indicate the effects of a large, quick EM pulse.
365 tomorrows » submission : A New Free Flash Fiction SciFi Story Every Day

The relationship between height and water pressure in linear and follows the relationship of 1 psi (pounds per square inch) = 2.308 feet of water (27. 7 inches) therefore a typical onestorey home with a roof tank mounted on the roof will have the water level in the tank approximately 4.5 metres (177.2 inches) above the ground.

This is said to show the true sequence of recorded events in linear time, presumably on the grounds that Spanish loan words and intrusions would become more common in later chronicles.

When numbers are spread out evenly on a ruler, the scale is called linear.

It allows finegrain control over typographic attributes like leading and kerning, and has two modes: linear is displayed in the screenshot at right; check the web site to see what rotary looks like (the video is worth more words than I'm willing to type).
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