Definition of line noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary




long thin mark

1 [countable] a long thin mark on a surfacea straight/wavy/dotted/diagonal linea vertical/horizontal lineparallel linesDraw a thick black line across the page.2 [countable] a long thin mark on the ground to show the limit or border of something, especially of a playing area in some sportsThe 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 finish line, goal line, sideline, touchline3 [countable] a mark like a line on someone's skin that people usually get as they get older synonym wrinkleHe has fine lines around his eyes.


4 [countable] an imaginary limit or border between one place or thing and anotherHe was convicted of illegally importing weapons across state lines.a district/county linelines of longitude and latitude see also coastline, Date Line, dividing line, picket line, treeline, waterline5 [countable] the division between one area of thought or behavior and anotherWe 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.


6 [countable] the edge, outline, or shape of someone or somethingHe traced the line of her jaw with his finger.a beautiful sports car with sleek lines see also bikini line

row of people/things

7 [countable] a row of people or things next to each other or behind each otherto stand/wait in line for somethingA line formed at each ticket window.There’s no need to cut in line (= push in front of people standing in a line), as there are plenty of seats for everyone.The children all stood in a line.a long line of treesThey were stuck in a line of traffic.

in factory

8 [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


9 [countable, usually singular] a series of people, things, or events that follow one another in timeShe came from a long line of pass something down through the male/female lineThis novel is the latest of a long line of thrillers that he has written.That was the first in a whole line of mistakes and bad decisions.10 [countable, usually singular] a series of people in order of importanceOrders came down the line from the very top.a line of commandHe is second in line to the be next in line to the throne


11 [countable] (abbr. l) a row of words on a page or the empty space where they can be written; the words of a song or poemLook 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. see also bottom line12 [countable] the words spoken by an actor in a play or movieto learn your linesa line from the movie “Casablanca”13 [countable] (informal) a remark, especially when someone says it to achieve a particular purposeDon't give me that line about having to work late again.


14 [countable] a long piece of rope, thread, etc., especially when it is used for a particular purposea fishing lineHe hung the towels out on the line (= clothesline).They dropped the sails and threw a line to a man on the dock. see also lifeline15 [countable] a pipe or thick wire that carries water, gas, or electricity from one place to another see also power line


16 [countable] a telephone connection; a particular telephone numberYour 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. see also helpline, hotline, landline, offline, online


17 [countable] a railroad track; a section of a railroad systemThe train was delayed because a tree had fallen across the line.a branch linethe northeastern line see also main line


18 [countable, usually singular] the direction that someone or something is moving or located inJust keep going in a straight line; you can't miss it.The town is in a direct line between here 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 someone is shooting in).19 [countable] a route from one place to another especially when it is used for a particular purposeTheir aim was to block guerrilla supply lines.


20 [countable, usually singular] an attitude or a belief, especially one that someone states publiclyThe government is taking a firm line on terrorism.He supported the official line on education. see also hard line, party line121 [countable] a method or way of doing or thinking about somethingI don't follow your line of reasoning.She decided to try a different line of argument (= way of persuading someone of something).someone's first line of attack/defenseThe police are pursuing a new line of questioning (= way of finding out information).


22 [singular] a type or area of business, activity, or interestMy line of work pays pretty well.What line of business are you in? see also sideline


23 [countable] a type of productWe are starting a new line in casual clothes.Some lines sell better than others. see also top of the line


24 [countable] (often used in names) a company that provides transporation for people or goodsa shipping/bus line see also airline


25 [countable] a row or series of military defenses where the soldiers are fighting during a warThe 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).

along/down the line

(informal) at some point during an activity or a processSomewhere along the line a large amount of money was stolen.We'll make a decision on that further down the line.along the linedown the line

along/on (the)… lines

1 (informal) in the way that is mentionedThe new system will operate along the same lines as the old one.They voted along class lines.2 (informal) similar to the way or thing that is mentionedThose aren't his exact words, but he said something along those lines.The hotel was built along the lines of a French chateau.along linesalong the lineson lineson the lines

the battle lines are drawn

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
the battle lines are drawn

be on the firing line

1 to be in a position where you can be shot atattempts to prevent civilians from being on the firing line2 to be in a position where people can criticize or blame youThe labor secretary found himself on the firing line over recent job on the firing line

bring someone/something, come, get, fall, etc. into line (with someone/something)

to behave or make someone or something behave in the same way as other people or how they should behave
Other politicians fell into line behind the president in support of the war.bring, come, get, fall, etc. into linebring, come, get, fall, etc. into line with

(reach) the end of the line/road

(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.the end of the linereach the end of the linethe end of the roadreach the end of the road

hold the line (against/on something)

to keep something at a particular level and not allow any more increases or changes
Foreign auto makers will try to hold the line on prices to maintain U.S. market share.hold the linehold the line againsthold the linehold the line on

hook, line, and sinker

What I said wasn't true, but he fell for it (= believed it) hook, line, and sinker.hook, line, and sinker

in (a) line (with something)

in a position that forms a straight line with something
An eclipse happens when the earth and moon are in line with the linein a line with

in line for something

likely to get something
She is in line for line for

in the line of duty

while doing a job
A policeman was injured in the line of duty the line of duty

in line with something

similar to something or so that one thing is closely connected with another
Annual pay increases will be in line with line with

lay it on the line

(informal) to tell someone clearly what you think, especially when they will not like what you sayThe manager laid it on the line—some people would have to lose their jobs.lay it on the line

(choose, follow, take, etc.) the line of least resistance

(to choose, etc.) the easiest way of doing something
the line of least resistancechoose, follow, take, etc. the line of least resistance

on the front line (of something)

doing work that will have an important effect on something
a life spent on the front line of researchon the front lineon the front line of

on line

= online adv.on line

(put something) on the line

(informal) at riskIf we don't make a profit, my job is on the line.on the lineput on the line

out of line (with someone/something)

1 not forming a straight line2 different from somethingThe prices here are way out of line with the rest of the country.3 (informal) behaving in a way that is not acceptable or rightout of lineout of line with

overstep the mark/line

to behave in a way that people think is not acceptable
She realized she had overstepped the mark and quickly apologized.overstep the markoverstep the line

pitch a story/line/yarn (to someone)

(informal) to tell someone a story or make an excuse that is not truepitch a story/yarnpitch a story/yarn topitch a line/yarnpitch a line/yarn to

read between the lines

to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated
Reading between the lines, I think Christy needs between the lines

read between the lines

to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated
Reading between the lines, I think Christy needs between the lines

sign on the dotted line

(informal) to sign a document to show that you have agreed to buy something or do somethingJust sign on the dotted line and the car is yours.sign on the dotted line

toe the line/mark

to say or do what someone 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 toe the party linetoe the linetoe the mark

walk/tread a fine/thin line

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.walk a fine/thin linetread a fine/thin line