What does nonlinear mean?

Definitions for nonlinear

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word nonlinear.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. nonlinearadjective

    designating or involving an equation whose terms are not of the first degree


  1. nonlinearadjective

    (Math.) Containing variables of greater than the first degree; -- of an equation. Opposite of linear.

  2. nonlinearadjective

    (Physics) Represented by equations containing variables of greater than the first degree; -- of physical processes or relationships. Opposite of linear.

  3. nonlinearadjective

    (Math.) Not depictable graphically as a straight line; not changing by a constant amount for each unit of time, distance, or other independent variable. Opposite of linear.


  1. nonlinearadjective

    not lying on a straight line

  2. nonlinearadjective

    whose atoms do not lie in a straight line

  3. nonlinearadjective

    having a product of independent variables, or a variable with an exponent not equal to one

  4. nonlinearadjective

    whose output is not directly proportional to its input

  5. nonlinearadjective

    erratic and unpredictable; tending to jump back and forth

    a film with a nonlinear plot

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. nonlinear

    [scientific computation] 1. Behaving in an erratic and unpredictable fashion; unstable. When used to describe the behavior of a machine or program, it suggests that said machine or program is being forced to run far outside of design specifications. This behavior may be induced by unreasonable inputs, or may be triggered when a more mundane bug sends the computation far off from its expected course. 2. When describing the behavior of a person, suggests a tantrum or a flame. “When you talk to Bob, don't mention the drug problem or he'll go nonlinear for hours.” In this context, go nonlinear connotes ‘blow up out of proportion’ (proportion connotes linearity).

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How to pronounce nonlinear?

How to say nonlinear in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of nonlinear in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of nonlinear in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of nonlinear in a Sentence

  1. Greg Schmidt:

    My dad invited Rudy Kalman to give a lecture at Ames, and when he did, Dad had an epiphany, rudy Kalman had written a paper about a theoretical' linear' solution to estimating a vehicle's location and speed. The problem was that this was a fundamentally' nonlinear' problem ; that's like the difference in complexity between floating down a lazy river and going over a waterfall, where your motion becomes chaotic and unpredictable. My dad then developed the equations for how to solve this nonlinear problem -- a major extension of Kalman's work.

  2. Bate, Mueller & White, 1971, "Fundamentals of Astrodynamics":

    Equation (1.2-9) is a second order, nonlinear, vector, differential equation which has defied solution in its present form. It is here therefore we depart from the realities of nature to make some simplifying assumptions...

  3. Neil Gershenfeld:

    For a smart material to be able to send out a more complex signal it needs to be nonlinear. If you hit a tuning fork twice as hard it will ring twice as loud but still at the same frequency. That's a linear response. If you hit a person twice as hard they're unlikely just to shout twice as loud. That property lets you learn more about the person than the tuning fork.

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Translations for nonlinear

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    lacking in nutritive value
    • A. usurious
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