Matrilineal refers to familial relationships that can be traced through a female. To follow the matrilineal line in your family, start with your mom.

In Latin, matri- refers to the mother, just as patri- refers to the father. Lineal is a word that refers to someone's lineage, or the line of people that came before that person; so the adjective matrilineal describes anything related to kinship through a female line. If the children in your culture take their mother's last name, and not their father's, this is a matrilineal tradition.

Definitions of matrilineal
  1. adjective
    based on or tracing descent through the female line
    matrilineal inheritance”
    synonyms: matrilinear
    direct, lineal
    in a straight unbroken line of descent from parent to child
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