Definition of lifeline in English:



  • 1A rope or line used for life-saving, typically one thrown to rescue someone in difficulties in water or one used by sailors to secure themselves to a boat.

    ‘he rigged a lifeline fore and aft and clipped the safety line on the girl's life jacket to it’
    • ‘Rescue teams continued to drill toward six trapped miners Thursday evening and were hopeful of reaching the men with lifelines, mine officials said.’
    • ‘After nearly half an hour they were spotted by the crew of a passing boat, and a lifeline was thrown to Rachel who was pulled aboard.’
    • ‘And then, miraculously, I felt my lifeline pulling me to the surface.’
    • ‘In an attempt to rescue the truck's occupants, several people waded out to a high point of land and improvised a lifeline from barbed wire cut from a nearby fence and a spare tire as a buoy.’
    • ‘At least two people had to be rescued using a lifeline and life jackets as they were pulled through the fast flowing water.’
    • ‘Al snatched at a fleeting memory like a drowning sailor grabbing a lifeline.’
    • ‘Most of the damage has now been repaired, but the boat was still without lifelines so caution was required when moving around lest we ended up going for a premature swim!’
    lifeline, preservation, conservation, means of escape
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    1. 1.1A line used by a diver for sending signals to the surface.
      • ‘While the lake was ice-free, surface vessels kept the lifeline in operation, and pipelines and electric cables were laid under the water.’
      • ‘The tender operated or supervised the hand or kerosene-powered air pump and controlled the rope lifeline to his diver.’
      • ‘My wife tied the lifeline, we repeated the signals, and I was in the water.’
      • ‘Eventually, a lifeline arrives from the surface allowing fresh oxygen and limited communication.’
  • 2A thing on which someone or something depends or which provides a means of escape from a difficult situation.

    ‘the telephone has always been a lifeline for Gabby and me’
    • ‘More than 80 pensioners use the service and see it as a lifeline to services in the region.’
    • ‘These days the boat takes tourists up the river, but in its past life the vessel was a lifeline to people living on the banks of the upper Mokau.’
    • ‘But it is those for whom our public services are a lifeline - the poorest and the most vulnerable in our society - who are suffering the most.’
    • ‘As numbers grow this service can be a lifeline to people initially unfamiliar with the Irish way of life.’
    • ‘And now, living in Toronto, it is the lifeline to my greatest love: the heartbreakingly beautiful city of Montreal.’
    • ‘This service is a lifeline to 50 users every week and it would impact on a lot of people if it had to close.’
    • ‘This has upset many who argue pay phones are an essential local facility and a lifeline in times of emergency.’
    • ‘As he was exhaling his last breath, he was struggling to live, trying to hang on to the lifeline that he had.’
    • ‘There have been times in my life when it has been the lifeline keeping me afloat in a very chaotic world.’
    • ‘The Swindon and District branch of Headway, based at Victoria Hospital, provides a lifeline to Swindonians after they leave hospital.’
    • ‘The online service will be a lifeline for rugby league fans across the country.’
    • ‘Public transport is a lifeline for people living in villages and it is essential that we try to provide them with as comprehensive a service as possible.’
    • ‘She had decided not to retaliate and give the regime the satisfaction of knowing how much hurt it had caused her because dance was her lifeline; it was the medium through which she lived and breathed.’
    • ‘An early version of a self-propelled train, the rail motor provided a vital community service and a lifeline to all the towns and people in the area.’
    • ‘The link service is a lifeline for people without transport who live in villages to the north and west of Chippenham.’
    • ‘New Yorkers took to the web as a lifeline when their phone service went out.’
    • ‘The livestock contract has now been included as part of the lifeline ferry services which are currently out to tender.’
    • ‘When Sophie fell poorly with glandular fever and then chronic fatigue syndrome her home computer provided a lifeline to the outside world.’
    • ‘The centre is a place of refuge and a lifeline to the many service users who regularly attend.’
    • ‘MAX, as the light-rail system is called, hasn't just reduced traffic - it's provided a lifeline for the city's downtown.’
  • 3(in palmistry) a line on the palm of a person's hand, regarded as indicating how long they will live.

    • ‘This is for Joyce, since I have been largely unable to determine the answer to her question about mysteriously getting a cut on the lifeline of your palm.’
    • ‘Your left thumb should meet your right hand where your lifeline and heartline intersect.’
    • ‘She studied his palm and was dismayed at his brief lifeline.’
    • ‘The club should lie across the fingers, not in the palm, and the lifeline of your right hand needs to be firmly placed on top of the left thumb.’
    • ‘It starts at a point halfway along the main lifeline, and goes right off the palm and up onto the side of my hand.’