English

Definition of line noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

    long thin mark
  1. 1  [countable] a long thin mark on a surface a straight/wavy/dotted/diagonal line a vertical/horizontal line parallel lines Draw a thick black line across the page.
  2. 2  [countable] a long thin mark on the ground to show the limit or border of something, especially of a playing area in some sports The ball went over the line. Be careful not to cross the line (= the broken line painted down the middle of the road). Your feet must be behind the line when you serve (= in tennis). They were all waiting on the starting line. see also finishing line, goal line, sideline, touchline See related entries: Tennis
  3. 3  [countable] a mark like a line on somebody’s skin that people usually get as they get older synonym wrinkle He has fine lines around his eyes.
  4. division
  5. 4  [countable] an imaginary limit or border between one place or thing and another He was convicted of illegally importing weapons across state lines. a district/county line lines of longitude and latitude see also coastline, Date Line, dividing line, picket line, treeline, waterline
  6. 5  [countable] the division between one area of thought or behaviour and another We want to cut across lines of race, sex and religion. There is a fine line between showing interest in what someone is doing and interfering in it. see also red line
  7. shape
  8. 6  [countable] the edge, outline or shape of somebody/something He traced the line of her jaw with his finger. a beautiful sports car with sleek lines see also bikini line
  9. row of people/things
  10. 7  [countable] a row of people or things next to each other or behind each other a long line of trees The children all stood in a line. They were stuck in a line of traffic.
  11. 8  [countable] (North American English) a queue of people to stand/wait in line for something A line formed at each teller window.
  12. in factory
  13. 9[countable] a system of making something, in which the product moves from one worker to the next until it is finished see also assembly line, production line
  14. series
  15. 10  [countable, usually singular] a series of people, things or events that follow one another in time She came from a long line of doctors. to pass something down through the male/female line This novel is the latest in a long line of thrillers that he has written. That was the first in a whole line of mistakes and bad decisions.
  16. 11[countable, usually singular] a series of people in order of importance Orders came down the line from the very top. a line of command He is second in line to the chairman. to be next in line to the throne see also line manager
  17. words
  18. 12  [countable] (abbreviation l) a row of words on a page or the empty space where they can be written; the words of a song or poem Look at line 5 of the text. Write the title of your essay on the top line. I can only remember the first two lines of that song. Wordfinderact, cast, drama, entrance, exit, line, play, role, scene, speech see also bottom line See related entries: Poetry
  19. 13  [countable] the words spoken by an actor in a play or film/movie to learn your lines a line from the film ‘Casablanca’ See related entries: Elements of a play, Film reviews and promotion
  20. 14lines [plural] (British English) (in some schools) a punishment in which a child has to write out a particular sentence a number of times The teacher gave me 100 lines.
  21. 15[countable] (informal) a remark, especially when somebody says it to achieve a particular purpose Don't give me that line about having to work late again. (British English) That's the worst chat-up line I've ever heard.
  22. rope/wire/pipe
  23. 16  [countable] a long piece of rope, thread, etc., especially when it is used for a particular purpose a fishing line He hung the towels out on the line (= clothes line). They dropped the sails and threw a line to a man on the dock. Wordfinderbait, bite, dragnet, fishing, fly, hook, line, net, rod, trawl see also lifeline
  24. 17[countable] a pipe or thick wire that carries water, gas or electricity from one place to another see also power line
  25. telephone
  26. 18  [countable] a telephone connection; a particular telephone number Your bill includes line rental. The company's lines have been jammed (= busy) all day with people making complaints. I was talking to John when the line suddenly went dead. If you hold the line (= stay on the telephone and wait), I'll see if she is available. see also helpline, hotline, landline, offline, online Wordfinderarea code, call, dial, engaged, hold, line, message, phone, ring off, voicemail See related entries: Making calls
  27. railway/railroad
  28. 19  [countable] a railway/railroad track; a section of a railway/railroad system The train was delayed because a tree had fallen across the line. a branch line the East Coast line see also main line See related entries: Railway tracks and stations
  29. route/direction
  30. 20  [countable, usually singular] the direction that somebody/something is moving or located in Just keep going in a straight line; you can't miss it. The town is in a direct line between London and the coast. Please move; you're right in my line of vision (= the direction I am looking in). They followed the line of the river for three miles. Be careful to stay out of the line of fire (= the direction somebody is shooting in).
  31. 21[countable] a route from one place to another especially when it is used for a particular purpose Their aim was to block guerrilla supply lines.
  32. attitude/argument
  33. 22[countable, usually singular] an attitude or a belief, especially one that somebody states publicly The government is taking a firm line on terrorism. He supported the official line on education. see also hard line, party line
  34. 23[countable] a method or way of doing or thinking about something I don't follow your line of reasoning. She decided to try a different line of argument (= way of persuading somebody of something). somebody’s first line of attack/defence The police are pursuing a new line of enquiry/inquiry(= way of finding out information).
  35. activity
  36. 24[singular] a type or area of business, activity or interest My line of work pays pretty well. You can't do much in the art line without training. see also sideline
  37. product
  38. 25[countable] a type of product We are starting a new line in casual clothes. Some lines sell better than others.
  39. transport
  40. 26[countable] (often used in names) a company that provides transport for people or goods a shipping/bus line see also airline
  41. soldiers
  42. 27[countable] a row or series of military defences where the soldiers are fighting during a war The regiment was sent to fight in the front line (= the position nearest the enemy). They were trapped behind enemy lines (= in the area controlled by the enemy).
  43. drugs
  44. 28[countable] (slang) an amount of cocaine that is spread out in a thin line, ready to take
  45. Word Originnoun Old English līne ‘rope, series’, probably of Germanic origin, from Latin linea (fibra) ‘flax (fibre)’, from Latin linum ‘flax’, reinforced in Middle English by Old French ligne, based on Latin linea.Extra examples Deep worry lines had appeared on her forehead. Get the clothes off the line. He has lines on his forehead. He kept shouting down the line at me. His family lived across the state line in West Virginia. Hold the line, please. Hold the line= Don’t put the receiver down, please. Horizontal lines indicate the time spent executing the program. I saw the faint lines of concern etched into his brow. It’s your mother on the line. Keep your lines of communication open. Our approach involves two main lines of attack. She crossed the centre/​center line and hit an oncoming truck. Sign on the dotted line. Speak up—it’s rather a bad line. Start each paragraph on a new line. Take the Bakerloo line and change at Piccadilly. Take the green line and change at the first stop. The actions of investors do not always fall into line with financial theory. The ball bounced off the crossbar and fell behind the goal line. The branch line is threatened with closure. The broad lines of company policy are already laid down. The lunch line was long as usual. The middle managers were in the firing line of job cuts. The other members of the board must be brought into line. The pencil line connects one box to another. The soldiers stood in a line. There was a fish on the line. There were two fuel lines coming into the engine. There’s a problem with this line of reasoning. This line of thought perturbs me. Walk in a straight line. We know that intelligence is our first line of defence/​defense against terrorism. We live on the Northern Line. What do I dial for an outside line? You’ll have to wait in line like everybody else. a faint white line children standing in a line multiple lines of evidence all leading to the same conclusion out of line with party policies supermarket checkout lines the boundary line between two countries the official line on food safety Be careful not to cross the line. Disconnect the fuel line from the top of the pump. He is second in line to the throne. He was convicted of illegally importing weapons across state lines. He was expelled from the party for refusing to toe the party line. I prefer simple lines in skirts and trousers. Lines of longitude and latitude are marked on the map. Orders are usually passed down through the line of command. Property was passed down through the male line. Take care when working near overhead power lines. The MP supported the official line on education. The ball went over the line. The government took a hard line on the strike. The information came down the line from the very top. The muddle seems to have happened further down the line. The novel is the latest in a long line of thrillers that he has written. The towns are in a direct line between London and the coast. The two horses crossed the finishing line together. Their aim was to block the enemy’s supply lines. There is a fine line between showing interest in what someone is doing and interfering in it. There is no clear dividing line between what is good and what is bad. They were all waiting on the starting line. They were directly in the line of fire. Try to keep the boat sailing in a straight line. We had to stand/​wait in line for hours to get tickets. What line of business are they in? Who do you think is next in line for promotion? With its sleek lines and powerful engine, the XK8 is the definition of a luxury sports car. You’re right in my line of vision. Your feet must be behind the line when you serve. laughter/​frown/​worry lines the finish line to study/​learn your linesIdioms (informal) at some point during an activity or a process Somewhere along the line a large amount of money went missing. We'll make a decision on that further down the line.
      along/on (the)… lines
       
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    1. 1(informal) in the way that is mentioned The new system will operate along the same lines as the old one. They voted along class lines.
    2. 2(informal) similar to the way or thing that is mentioned Those aren't his exact words, but he said something along those lines. The hotel was built along the lines of a French chateau.
    the battle lines are drawn
     
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    used to say that people or groups have shown which side they intend to support in an argument or contest that is going to begin
    1. 1to be working or functioning The new working methods will come on line in June.
    2. 2using or connected to a computer or the Internet; communicating with other people by computer All the new homes are on line. see also online See related entries: Using the Internet
      be in the firing line (British English) (North American English be on the firing line)
       
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    1. 1to be in a position where you can be shot at attempts to prevent civilians from being in the firing line
    2. 2to be in a position where people can criticize or blame you The employment secretary found himself in the firing line over recent job cuts.
    bring somebody/something, come, get, fall, etc. into line (with somebody/something)
     
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    to behave or make somebody/something behave in the same way as other people or how they should behave Britain must be brought into line with the rest of Europe on taxes.
    draw a line under something
     
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    (British English) to say that something is finished and not worth discussing any more
    (reach) the end of the line/road
     
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    (to reach) the point at which something can no longer continue in the same way A defeat in the second round marked the end of the line for last year's champion.
    strong control or discipline Those children need a firm hand to make them behave. (British English, informal) used as a way of saying that you are sorry about something, usually ironically (= you really mean the opposite) completely What I said was not true, but he fell for it (= believed it) hook, line and sinker.
    in the front line (of something)
     
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    doing work that will have an important effect on something a life spent in the front line of research
    in (a) line (with something)
     
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    in a position that forms a straight line with something An eclipse happens when the earth and moon are in line with the sun.
    likely to get something She is in line for promotion. while doing a job A policeman was injured in the line of duty yesterday. similar to something or so that one thing is closely connected with another Annual pay increases will be in line with inflation.
    jump the queue (British English) (US English jump the line)
     
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    to go to the front of a line of people without waiting for your turn
    (informal) to tell somebody clearly what you think, especially when they will not like what you say The manager laid it on the line—some people would have to lose their jobs.
    (choose, follow, take, etc.) the line of least resistance
     
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    (to choose, etc.) the easiest way of doing something
    (put something) on the line
     
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    (informal) at risk If we don't make a profit, my job is on the line.
      out of line (with somebody/something)
       
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    1. 1not forming a straight line
    2. 2different from something London prices are way out of line with the rest of the country.
    3. 3(North American English) (British English out of order) (informal) behaving in a way that is not acceptable or right
    to behave in a way that people think is not acceptable She realized she had overstepped the mark and quickly apologized.
    pitch a story/line/yarn (to somebody)
     
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    (informal) to tell somebody a story or make an excuse that is not true
    to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated Reading between the lines, I think Clare needs money. read between the linesconclude
    sign on the dotted line
     
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    (informal) to sign a document to show that you have agreed to buy something or do something Just sign on the dotted line and the car is yours.
    step out of line, be/get out of line
     
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    to behave badly or break the rules His boss warned him that if he stepped out of line once more he would be fired.
    toe the line (North American English also toe the mark)
     
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    to say or do what somebody in authority tells you to say or do, even if you do not share the same opinions, etc. One or two of them refused to toe the line. to toe the party line
    walk/tread a fine/thin line
     
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    to be in a difficult or dangerous situation where you could easily make a mistake He was walking a fine line between being funny and being rude.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: line