patrilineal (PA-truh-LIHN-ee-ul) listen


  • adj. Considered Jewish because one's father but not mother is Jewish.

Example Sentences

  • Jake's mother is not Jewish, but he is through patrilineal descent.

  • "Nearly three decades after the Reform movement’s landmark 1983 decision to accept patrilineal Jews, the standard has yet to catch on with Conservative or Orthodox Jewry." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • English

Who Uses This

  • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
  • Reform and Reconstructionist Jews


  • North America
  • South Africa
  • Australia / New Zealand


  • None


  • Patrilineal descent is accepted in the Reform and Reconstructionist movements; more traditionally observant Jews consider Jewish identity to be passed along only matrilineally - through the mother.

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