1 adj A linear process or development is one in which something changes or progresses straight from one stage to another, and has a starting point and an ending point.
usu ADJ n
...the linear view of time, with the idea that the past is moving into the present and the present into the future.
2 adj A linear shape or form consists of straight lines.
usu ADJ n
...the sharp, linear designs of the Seventies and Eighties.
3 adj Linear movement or force occurs in a straight line rather than in a curve. usu ADJ n
non-linear , nonlinear
If you describe something as non-linear, you mean that it does not progress or develop smoothly from one stage to the next in a logical way. Instead, it makes sudden changes, or seems to develop in different directions at the same time. adj
...a non-linear narrative structure.
Translation English - Cobuild Collins Dictionary
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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"