Definition of flatline in English:



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  • 1informal (of a person) die.

    ‘they injected themselves with a deadly drug and flatlined’
    • ‘Having Janet flatline is a little cheap for a cliffhanger, considering there was never any indication that her situation was close to critical.’
    • ‘I was flatlining with a DNR.’
    • ‘Suddenly Boyd flatlines and they all do some well-choreographed panic procedures which mostly involve pumping his chest and giving him shots of adrenalin.’
    • ‘And then, suddenly, Theresa's heart flatlined for a second time.’
    • ‘In the late 1970's in a Perth hospital I collapsed into a coma and then flatlined.’
    • ‘‘I flatlined, but they brought me back,’ says Nott.’
    • ‘In July 2000, I was hit while riding my Ducati 916; I flatlined twice and was on life support for several days with a shattered pelvis and broken femur.’
    • ‘I've flatlined, I've been counted out in a coma, and I've been tortured by Pesto.’
    die, pass away, pass on, expire, breathe one's last, go, go to meet one's maker, shuffle off this mortal coil, go to one's last resting place, go the way of all flesh, cross the styx
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    1. 1.1 (of a project or undertaking) fail.
      ‘her career has flatlined about three times already’
      • ‘A California woman pregnant with twins, collapses, then flat lines.’
      • ‘However, last night, demand fell a bit in the first hour, and then flatlined.’
      • ‘Anheuser has posted double-digit profit gains for 20 straight quarters, while its nearest competitors, Coors and Miller, have flatlined.’
      • ‘As Fine Gael flatlined in the opinion polls, Bruton was ditched as party leader in favour of Michael Noonan.’
      • ‘Individual performance sport has become boring, the arc of achievement has flat lined.’
      • ‘But his main aim will be to talk up an economy which has flatlined for three years.’
      • ‘We've seen job loss, we've seen flatlining wages and incomes.’
      • ‘For years the Air Force has enjoyed tremendous safety rates but lately, those rates have "flat lined."’
      • ‘The same goes for our flatlining public health-care system.’
      • ‘Right now, we're pretty much at the flat line.’
      • ‘He was emotionally flatlined in meetings, practices, on the sideline.’
      • ‘Downtown nightclubbing, that New York City staple, has largely flatlined.’
      • ‘With this book, the series has finally flatlined.’
      • ‘The Lib Dems are failing to pick up disaffected liberal-left electors, and the Tories have flatlined since 2004.’
      • ‘But the official count, which is disputed by many, has flatlined since.’
      • ‘The Kennedy-McCain bill will flat line that coverage for more than a million of them.’
      • ‘Once viewed as a rising star, Grizzard has flatlined.’
      • ‘Strategic buyers - those looking for geographic diversification, product-line growth, or new customers - are also worrying less about flatlining sales.’
      • ‘Eriksson had faith in a low-key manner but his England flatlined at the great tournaments.’
      • ‘Investors are saying I mean, GM is a flat line here.’
  • 2Fail to increase; remain static.

    ‘their share of the vote has flatlined at about 3%’
    • ‘Sales have flatlined.’
    • ‘With the Tories flatlining at the same level as in 2001, the Liberal Democrats and smaller parties have been the beneficiaries.’
    • ‘So, when Japan's real-estate bubble burst and the economy flatlined for over a decade, the world was caught unawares.’
    • ‘The Tories are flatlining in the polls, providing the prime minister with the luxury of an opposition that has made no progress since 1997.’
    • ‘They might be flatlining in the polls, but the Democrats still have seven votes in the Senate - and a provocative suggestion to make on tax.’
    • ‘Coastal property is flatlining after pricing itself out of the market, and rising crime and overcrowding are also conspiring to drive buyers inland.’
    • ‘But the network game-of-the-week concept, in declining health for two decades, is flatlining.’
    • ‘The British economy flatlined through the last quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of this year; even the revised estimates for gross national product could not breathe any life into it.’
    • ‘The comatose German economy was flatlining at 0.4% growth, with France faring only a little better at 1%.’
    • ‘With most European stocks flatlining, investors are hungry for shares of companies benefiting from fast-paced growth in Latin America.’
    • ‘But the party's vote share virtually flatlined.’
    • ‘This time around, both the U.S. and German economies are flatlining, while that of Japan continues its slow, downward spiral.’
    • ‘Recall their respective sweeps of each other in the season's first half, and now their more recent ‘message games’ amid defending home turf just when it appeared they had flatlined.’
    • ‘The Conservatives flatlined, dead on arrival with no increase in their national share of the vote - and yet the headline story is about all the seats they won and all the seats Labour lost.’
    • ‘During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.’
    • ‘At the same time, the female participation rate in the workforce has topped out, and at the same time as that, the growth in education within the workforce is flatlining.’
    • ‘However, there's no law that says the Conservatives, who have been flatlining now for nearly a decade, will recover in time to win the next election.’
    • ‘As I've said before, though, in the past few years my reading has flatlined; working in a book-rich environment tends to put you off.’
    • ‘On the other hand, downtown nightclubbing, that NYC staple, has largely flatlined.’
    • ‘While individually we may have seen increases/decreases in spam - as a whole there are reports that spam flatlined in the month of May and viruses led the pack in volume of junk mail.’


1980s: from flat + line (with reference to the continuous straight line displayed on a heart monitor, indicating death).