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Matrilineality is a system in which one belongs to one's mother's lineage; it may also involve the inheritance of property or titles through the female line. However, the latter does not always hold; in some societies, titles or property went to the male heir(s) of the nearest female relative.

A matriline is a line of descent from a female ancestor to a descendant (of either sex) in which the individuals in all intervening generations are female. In a matrilineal descent system, an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as his or her mother. This is in contrast to the more common pattern of patrilineal descent.

In some cultures, membership of a group is inherited matrilinearly. For example, it is traditionally said that one is a Jew if one's mother (rather than one's father) is a Jew.

Another example of a matrilineal culture is the Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra.

Compare: Patrilineality