a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface:
a line down the middle of the page.
Mathematics. a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.
something arranged along a line, especially a straight line; a row or series:
a line of trees.
a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.
something resembling a traced line, as a band of color, a seam, or a furrow:
lines of stratification in rock.
a furrow or wrinkle on the face, neck, etc.:
lines around the eyes.
an indication of demarcation; boundary; limit:
the county line; a fine line between right and wrong.
a row of written or printed letters, words, etc.:
a page of 30 lines.
a verse of poetry:
A line in iambic pentameter contains five feet.
Usually, lines. the words of an actor’s part in a drama, musical comedy, etc.:
to rehearse one’s lines.
a short written message:
Drop me a line when you’re on vacation.
a system of public conveyances, as buses or trains, plying regularly over a fixed route:
the northbound line at State Street.
a transportation or conveyance company:
a steamship line.
a course of direction; route:
the line of march down Main Street.
a course of action, procedure, thought, policy, etc.:
That newspaper follows the communist line.
a piece of pertinent or useful information (usually followed by on):
I’ve got a line on a good used car.
a series of generations of persons, animals, or plants descended from a common ancestor:
a line of kings.
a department of activity; occupation or business:
What line are you in?
Informal. a mode of conversation, especially one that is glib or exaggerated in order to impress or influence another person:
He really handed her a line about his rich relatives.
a straight line drawn from an observed object to the fovea of the eye.
a circle of the terrestrial or celestial sphere:
the equinoctial line.
Television. one scanning line.
the line, Geography. the equator.
a stock of commercial goods of the same general class but having a range of styles, sizes, prices, or quality:
the company’s line of shoes.
an assembly line.
Law. a limit defining one estate from another; the outline or boundary of a piece of real estate.
Bridge. a line on a score sheet that separates points scored toward game (below the line) from points scored by setting a contract, having honors, etc. (above the line)
Music. any of the straight, horizontal, parallel strokes of the staff, or one placed above or below the staff.
an arrangement of troops of an army or of ships of a fleet as drawn up for battle:
line of battle.
a body or formation of troops or ships drawn up abreast (distinguished from (def 6.)).
the class of officers serving with combatant units or warships.
the regular forces of an army or navy.
that part of an administrative organization consisting of persons actively engaged on a given project.
Compare 1 (def 4).
a thread, string, cord, rope, or the like.
the wash hanging on the line.
a cord, wire, or the like, used for measuring or as a guide.
Slang. a small quantity of cocaine arranged in the form of a slender thread or line, as for sniffing.
Also, ligne. a unit equal to 1/40 (0.025) inch (0.64 mm), for measuring the diameter of buttons.
Angling. a length of nylon, silk, linen, cord, or the like, to which are attached the leader, hook, sinker, float, etc.
the betting odds established by bookmakers for events not covered by pari-mutuel betting, especially sporting events, as football or basketball.
Ice Hockey. the two wings and center who make up a team’s offensive unit.
Fencing. any of the four divisions of the portion of a fencer’s body on which a touch can be scored, taken as an area of attack or defense.
Textiles. the longer and preferred flax or hemp fibers.
Compare 2 (def 2).
Fox Hunting. the trail of scent left by a fox.
a unit of length equivalent to 1/12 (0.0833) inch (2.12 millimeters).
Australian Slang. a girl or woman.
verb (used without object), lined, lining.
to take a position in a line; range (often followed by up):
to line up before the start of a parade.
verb (used with object), lined, lining.
to bring into a line, or into line with others (often followed by up):
to line up troops.
to mark with a line or lines:
to line paper for writing.
to sketch verbally or in writing; (often followed by out):
We followed the plan he had lined out.
to arrange a line along:
to line a coast with colonies.
to form a line along:
Rocks lined the drive.
to apply to (the eyes).
to delineate with or as if with lines; draw:
to line the silhouette of a person’s head.
Archaic. to measure or test with a line.
line up, to secure; make available:
to line up support; to line up a speaker for the banquet.
bring / come / get into line,
cross the line, to go beyond accepted standards of behavior:
His outburst crossed the line between heated argument and offensive vilification.
Sometimes, cross a boundary.
down the line,
draw the line, to impose a restriction; limit:
They might exaggerate but would draw the line at outright lying.
go up in one’s lines, Theater. to forget one’s part during a performance.
Also, British, go up on one’s lines.
hold the line, to maintain the status quo, especially in order to forestall unfavorable developments:
We’re trying to hold the line on prices.
in line with, in agreement or conformity with:
The action taken was in line with her decision.
in the line of duty, in the execution of the duties belonging to some occupation, especially with regard to the responsibility for life and death:
a policeman wounded in the line of duty.
Also, in line of duty.
lay it on the line, Informal.
on a line, Baseball. (of a batted or thrown ball) through the air in an approximately straight line from the point of impact or delivery:
hit on a line between third and short; thrown in on a line from the center fielder.
on the line, Informal.
out of line,
read between the lines, to understand the unexpressed but implied meaning of something said or written:
Her letter sounded cheerful enough, but I read a certain sadness between the lines.
toe the line / mark,
a row or arrangement of people or things assembled for a particular purpose: the line-up for the football match
the members of such a row or arrangement
an identity parade
to form, put into, or organize a line-up
(transitive) to produce, organize, and assemble: they lined up some questions
(transitive) to align
a narrow continuous mark, as one made by a pencil, pen, or brush across a surface
such a mark cut into or raised from a surface
a thin indented mark or wrinkle
a straight or curved continuous trace having no breadth that is produced by a moving point
a border or boundary: the county line
a specified point of change or limit: the dividing line between sanity and madness
anything long, flexible, and thin, such as a wire or string: a washing line, a fishing line
a telephone connection: a direct line to New York
a system of travel or transportation, esp over agreed routes: a shipping line
a company operating such a system
a route between two points on a railway
(NZ) a roadway usually in a rural area
a course or direction of movement or advance: the line of flight of a bullet
a course or method of action, behaviour, etc: take a new line with him
a policy or prescribed course of action or way of thinking (often in the phrases bring or come into line)
a field of study, interest, occupation, trade, or profession: this book is in your line
alignment; true (esp in the phrases in line, out of line)
one kind of product or article: a nice line in hats
(NZ) a collection of bales of wool all of the one type
a row of persons or things: a line of cakes on the conveyor belt
a chronological or ancestral series, esp of people: a line of prime ministers
a row of words printed or written across a page or column
a unit of verse consisting of the number of feet appropriate to the metre being used and written or printed with the words in a single row
a short letter; note: just a line to say thank you
a piece of useful information or hint about something: give me a line on his work
one of a number of narrow horizontal bands forming a television picture
(physics) a narrow band in an electromagnetic spectrum, resulting from a transition in an atom, ion, or molecule of a gas or plasma
a unit of magnetic flux equal to 1 maxwell
a defensive or fortified position, esp one that marks the most forward position in war or a national boundary: the front line
line ahead, line abreast, a formation adopted by a naval unit for manoeuvring
a formation adopted by a body or a number of military units when drawn up abreast
the combatant forces of certain armies and navies, excluding supporting arms
(fencing) one of four divisions of the target on a fencer’s body, considered as areas to which specific attacks are made
the scent left by a fox
the amount of insurance written by an underwriter for a particular risk
(US & Canadian) a line of people, vehicles, etc, waiting for something Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) queue
(slang) a portion of a powdered drug for snorting
(slang) something said for effect, esp to solicit for money, sex, etc: he gave me his usual line
above the line
below the line
all along the line
(Irish & Austral, informal) do a line, to associate (with a person of the opposite sex) regularly; go out (with): he is doing a line with her
draw the line, to reasonably object (to) or set a limit (on): her father draws the line at her coming in after midnight
(informal) get a line on, to obtain information about
hold the line
in line for, in the running for; a candidate for: he’s in line for a directorship
in line with, conforming to
in the line of duty, as a necessary and usually undesired part of the performance of one’s responsibilities
lay on the line, put on the line
(informal) shoot a line, to try to create a false image, as by boasting or exaggerating
step out of line, to fail to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
toe the line, to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
(transitive) to mark with a line or lines
(transitive) to draw or represent with a line or lines
(transitive) to be or put as a border to: tulips lined the lawns
to place in or form a row, series, or alignment
to attach an inside covering to (a garment, curtain, etc), as for protection, to hide the seaming, or so that it should hang well
to cover or fit the inside of: to line the walls with books
to fill plentifully: a purse lined with money
to reinforce the back of (a book) with fabric, paper, etc
a Middle English merger of Old English line “cable, rope; series, row, row of letters; rule, direction,” and Old French ligne “guideline, cord, string; lineage, descent;” both from Latin linea “linen thread, string, line,” from phrase linea restis “linen cord,” from fem. of lineus (adj.) “of linen,” from linum “linen” (see linen).
Oldest sense is “rope, cord, string;” extended late 14c. to “a thread-like mark” (from sense “cord used by builders for making things level,” mid-14c.), also “track, course, direction.” Sense of “things or people arranged in a straight line” is from 1550s. That of “cord bearing hooks used in fishing” is from c.1300. Meaning “one’s occupation, branch of business” is from 1630s, probably from misunderstood KJV translation of 2 Cor. x:16, “And not to boast in another mans line of things made ready to our hand,” where line translates Greek kanon, literally “measuring rod.” Meaning “class of goods in stock” is from 1834. Meaning “telegraph wire” is from 1847 (later “telephone wire”).
Meaning “policy or set of policies of a political faction” is 1892, American English, from notion of a procession of followers; this is the sense in party line. In British army, the Line (1802) is the regular, numbered troops, as distinguished from guards and auxiliaries. In the Navy (1704, e.g. ship of the line) it refers to the battle line. Lines “words of an actor’s part” is from 1882. Lines of communication were originally transverse trenches in siegeworks.
“to cover the inner side of,” late 14c., from Old English lin “linen cloth” (see linen). Linen was frequently used in the Middle Ages as a second layer of material on the inner side of a garment. Related: Lined; lining.
late 14c., “to tie with a cord,” from line (n.). Meaning “to mark or mark off with lines” is from mid-15c. Sense of “to arrange in a line” is from 1640s; that of “to join a line” is by 1773. To line up “form a line” is attested by 1889, in U.S. football.
A geometric figure formed by a point moving in a fixed direction and in the reverse direction. The intersection of two planes is a line. ◇ The part of a line that lies between two points on the line is called a line segment.
A set of points that have one dimension — length — but no width or height. (See coordinates.)
someone’s ass is on the line, the bottom line, chow line, hard line, hot line, in line, in line for, lay it on the line, main line, on line, on the line, out of line, punch line, put one’s ass on the line, redline, shoot someone a line, stag line, toe the mark
- Line up with
verb phrase To support; take sides with: Who will you line up with on this thorny issue? (1940s+)
noun, Mechanics. 1. . noun, Mechanics. 1. a vector having specified magnitude and lying on a given line.
noun, Electricity. 1. the voltage supplied by a power line, measured at the point of use.
- Line weight
noun in printing, the thickness of a line