Main definitions of line in English

: line1line2

line1

noun

  • 1A long, narrow mark or band.

    ‘a row of closely spaced dots will look like a continuous line’
    ‘I can't draw a straight line’
    • ‘The cars thinned out, leaving only white lines marking vacant spaces.’
    • ‘In the distance, just above the line where the ocean met the sky, a flash of lighting appeared, followed shortly by a crash of thunder.’
    • ‘The beauty of its composition would be destroyed, he said, if one were to move any of the vertical or horizontal black lines just a millimetre or two.’
    • ‘He paused, his brows furrowing and his lips going into a thin line before he spoke again.’
    • ‘I type out some words and they don't even look right - the letters seem to just appear in front of me as so many meaningless horizontal and vertical lines.’
    • ‘Also strange, wavy lines called shadow bands can be seen on the Earth's surface.’
    • ‘On the wall were eight strange symbols, all arranged in a circle, with lines connecting them.’
    • ‘Lowering his quill once more, the ink trailed in a continuous line, curving and twisting on the paper.’
    • ‘In most cases, the beaded patterns of these skirts consist of vertical or broken lines arranged in parallel rows.’
    • ‘Double yellow lines indicate parking is restricted at all times, while single lines apply only at times indicated.’
    • ‘I huddled close to Mark, seeing the line of orange light on the carpet where the thick curtains didn't meet properly.’
    • ‘Go is played on a board divided into a grid constructed by 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines.’
    • ‘Put your measuring tape on the floor, mark a line at 15 in then mark a line at 40 in.’
    • ‘Below me, the wind has whipped the water into a series of white parallel lines as it roars in towards the mainland.’
    • ‘Working quickly, drizzle chocolate in a thin stream over the biscuits to form a series of fine striped lines on top of each one.’
    • ‘I arrived there late in the evening just as the smoke from the village fires was forming a perfect horizontal line above the fields.’
    • ‘He also crossed no overtaking lines near a railway crossing and went through a red light.’
    • ‘The red line drawn on the ground in the Mitte District marks where the wall stood.’
    • ‘Black and colored lines delineated triangular planes of color that made up a succession of cubistic forms.’
    • ‘She released him and he rubbed his arm, five lines of blood appearing where her nails had been.’
    dash, rule, bar, score
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Mathematics A straight or curved continuous extent of length without breadth.
      • ‘In the latter work al-Tusi discussed objections raised by earlier mathematicians to comparing lengths of straight lines and of curved lines.’
      • ‘This work attempted to solve the problem of constructing a line of the same length as an arc of a circle.’
      • ‘Mathematically this means that the Greeks needed to construct a line of length equal to the cube-root of 2.’
      • ‘Mill takes lines without breadth and points without length to be limit concepts.’
      • ‘So the length of the circumference of the circle is expressed in terms of the lengths of straight lines.’
    2. 1.2 A direct course.
      ‘the ball rose in a straight line’
      • ‘For the first time in 122 years, earth and Venus will be in a direct line with the sun.’
      • ‘Their car was catapulted into a tree after being shunted from behind by a van driven by a man so drunk he could not walk in a straight line, a court heard yesterday.’
      • ‘When my turn comes, my task sounds simple; to sail in a straight line and then tack.’
      • ‘If everyone just took off and went in a direct line to the destination, there would be utter chaos.’
      • ‘The village at the focus of the local community lay about two miles from the farm along the roads but just a mile away in a direct line.’
      • ‘A properly set alignment must always be in a direct line with the intended target.’
      course, route, track, channel, path, way, run
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    3. 1.3 A furrow or wrinkle in the skin, especially on the face.
      ‘there were new lines round her eyes and mouth’
      ‘laughter lines’
      • ‘Inherited patterns of ageing begin to show in our thirties and fine lines and wrinkles may start to appear.’
      • ‘Her hair, tied at the back with a pencil, is flecked with the odd strand of grey and, of course, there are lines on her face.’
      • ‘She looked virtually the same as when I'd last seen her, though perhaps a closer vantage point would have let me see more wrinkles and lines.’
      • ‘The effects on wrinkles such as the frown line, forehead creases and crow's feet last for four to six months.’
      • ‘She smiles and even giggles constantly, and her otherwise flawless creamy complexion is delicately etched with laughter lines.’
      • ‘We use lasers to treat blemishes, thread veins, remove tattoos, and carry out skin resurfacing to remove lines.’
      • ‘Dehydration leads to dry skin, lines and premature ageing.’
      • ‘Age creeps up on all of us, from the first delicate lines spidering around our eyes in our twenties to the heavier frown lines and crow's feet of middle age.’
      • ‘The oxygen and nutrient deficiencies caused by too much smoking result in premature lines on the skin and a loss of natural elasticity.’
      • ‘Although the effects of laser resurfacing can last for years, wrinkles and expression lines recur as skin ages.’
      • ‘She was quite old, judging by the wrinkles and lines on her face and the gray in her hair.’
      • ‘Skin damage, including lines and wrinkles, can actually start showing up in your 20s.’
      • ‘The camera focuses on the wrinkled laughter lines around the man's eyes.’
      • ‘However, the flower's oil contains a unique ingredient which can reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face by up to 30%.’
      • ‘The topical application of specific peptides helps soften lines and wrinkles around your mouth, eyes and forehead.’
      • ‘The injection works by temporarily paralysing the muscles around the forehead, eyes and brow that make wrinkles and lines in the face as people age.’
      • ‘Proteins help strengthen and increase the thickness of the skin, making it less prone to fine lines and wrinkles.’
      • ‘His hair is graying already, he has grey stubble on his chin, wrinkles, laugh lines, and crows feet.’
      • ‘Chemical peels smooth out rough skin and minimize fine lines.’
      • ‘I had six injections in the area from the bridge of my nose to my forehead to take out the frown lines between my brows, and two at the corners of my eyes where my laughter lines are deepest.’
      wrinkle, furrow, crease, crinkle, crow's foot, groove, corrugation
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    4. 1.4 A contour or outline considered as a feature of design or composition.
      ‘crisp architectural lines’
      mass noun ‘the artist's use of clean line and colour’
      • ‘Her rings, necklaces and cufflinks combine clean, modern lines with an array of glowing colours.’
      • ‘His face was elegant, the graceful lines of his features nearly too perfect.’
      • ‘Its chunky industrial design is in sharp contrast to the bike's clean lines.’
      • ‘We set off eastwards along the valley following the line of the mountains.’
      • ‘Only the clean lines of the stage design serve to evoke the starkness of the northern landscape.’
      • ‘Classics are styles that have been popular for years because of their clean lines and utilitarian features.’
      • ‘The house was built in 1925, and it is part Mediterranean villa, part palazzo, with modern lines and open spaces.’
      • ‘The clean lines and the simple shapes are compelling in their quiet beauty and grace.’
      • ‘This urban contemporary collection keeps things in perspective with simple forms, clean lines and subtle shapes.’
      • ‘The magnificent master bedroom is elegantly curved in shape, has clean sweeping lines and luxurious en-suite facilities.’
      • ‘The crisp lines and stylish designs of a Brooks Brothers suit are always totally appropriate for the times.’
      • ‘A BMW's design is classic and timeless, with clean, sleek lines and distinct details.’
      • ‘I also discovered the Cinema Impero with its clean, geometric lines and porthole windows.’
      • ‘The lines are crisp; colors are bold and vibrant without being oversaturated.’
      • ‘Her designs have elegant lines and show a strong contrast of materials, for example, the combination of leather and lace.’
      • ‘The brilliant color and vivid lines of the work of Avi Ben-Simhon evoke a feeling of joy and happiness.’
      • ‘Cattrell wants us to feel the landscape: its surreal contours, unnatural lines and hidden secrets.’
      • ‘Smooth sensual lines and bold designs feature in a combination of glazed and matt finishes for a stylish contemporary result.’
      • ‘Evergreen plants have been used for centuries to mark out the lines of a garden.’
      • ‘Simple lines and soft tones combine to produce a minimalist decor which doesn't suffer from coldness or lack of personality.’
      • ‘A white china sink and ceramic hob complement the crisp clean lines.’
      • ‘Natural, free-flowing lines and materials showing strength and force characterize Chen's work.’
      contour, outline, configuration, shape, figure, delineation, silhouette, profile, features
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    5. 1.5 (on a map or graph) a curve connecting all points having a specified common property.
      • ‘The screen pulled up in front of her shows a slightly fluctuating graph with two thin lines.’
      • ‘The graph line runs pretty much the same five years before and five years after.’
      • ‘He takes the line on the graph in Mr Hocking's report as indicative of the margin of difference.’
      • ‘If you remember back to an economics class you might have taken, much time was spent on the intersection of lines in those graphs.’
      • ‘One can look at mathematical collaborations as a graph - an array of points connected by lines.’
    6. 1.6 A line marking the starting or finishing point in a race.
      ‘a good position at the start line will put you in the front rank on the first leg’
      • ‘In the Pirelli Trophy, Michael Cullen finished second, crossing the line ahead of Paddy Shovlin.’
      • ‘He flew of out of the blocks with a reaction time of 0.104 of a second to cross the line ahead of Chambers.’
      • ‘In fleet racing, the dominant type at the Olympics, the first to cross the line wins the race.’
      • ‘It was great to see so many young athletes on the starting line for every race.’
      • ‘Earlier, Goodison had failed to go back after being over the start line when racing belatedly began an hour late.’
      • ‘Keelboats will have a separate start line in the deeper water, according to the organisers.’
    7. 1.7 (in football, hockey, etc.) the goal line.
      ‘Dunne was on hand to bundle the ball over the line’
      ‘video evidence suggests the ball did not cross the line’
      • ‘He was held up five metres from the line and might have scored had he not changed direction at the last moment.’
      • ‘The home favourite served for the match and closed it out on a second match point with a backhand down the line.’
      • ‘First he drove just wide, then had a shot blocked before his third effort was cleared off the Newport line by Mark Fletcher.’
      • ‘Foster used his speed to make the touchdown a split second before the ball crossed the deadball line.’
      • ‘He was tackled a metre short of the line but momentum and a good long arm saw him touch down in style.’
      • ‘The Belgian took the second set when she clubbed a forehand down the line.’
      • ‘The keeper raced off his line but collided with his own centre back and that allowed Amjad Iqbal to net a far post header.’
      • ‘The ball was hacked clear and after some indecision in the home rearguard Enda Muldoon raced over the try line.’
      • ‘The shot in the first half might have been over the line, although TV pictures seemed to suggest otherwise.’
      • ‘The backs set up a strong attacking position and the forwards forced the ball over the line from close range.’
    8. 1.8 The equator.
    9. 1.9 A notional limit or boundary.
      ‘the issue of peace cut across class lines’
      ‘television blurs the line between news and entertainment’
      • ‘The communications revolution has blurred traditional class lines.’
      • ‘What was probably intended as tragedy, came across as cheap exploitative television, blurring the lines between fiction and fact.’
      • ‘The major policy issues of any modem presidency cut across all those old boundary lines.’
      • ‘A lot has been made over the last couple of years of the lines being blurred between news and entertainment.’
      • ‘We have all been guilty of it: blurring the lines between reality and fiction.’
      • ‘Of course the line between research and its implementation is a fine one.’
      • ‘There are growing divisions along racial, religious and class lines.’
      • ‘In the sponsorship of the arts there is a fine line between class and crass.’
      • ‘Support of educational reform, or any sort of reform, must cut across party, political and class lines.’
      • ‘It has sparked debate in the US over whether the highly patriotic tone crossed the line into jingoism.’
      • ‘The acts are intended to blur the lines between the audience and the performers.’
      • ‘In southern Louisiana, a fierce love of place cuts across lines of class and religion.’
      • ‘Supporters are divided along political lines, even within single clubs.’
      • ‘He has blurred the thin line that separates an actor from a director/writer.’
      • ‘The line between television drama and film is blurred even more here.’
      • ‘Teachers earn less than 100 dollars a month; rural workers live below the line of extreme poverty; public universities are forced to fight each other over reduced resources.’
      • ‘The company insist that their experiments are not in any way intended to blur the lines between human and animal.’
      • ‘Experienced editors can tell when a reporter crosses the line and becomes an advocate.’
      • ‘Mr Owen applied for planning permission to erect a wooden fence and a shed on the boundary line.’
      • ‘A number of audience members are seated at tables on stage further blurring the lines between the performers and the audience.’
      boundary, boundary line, limit, border, borderline, bound, bounding line, frontier, partition, demarcation line, dividing line, end point, cut-off point, termination, edge, pale, margin, perimeter, periphery, rim, extremity, fringe, threshold
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    10. 1.10 Each of the very narrow horizontal sections forming a television picture.
      • ‘Once again, Baird television sets were on sale, this time at the new television standard of 625 lines.’
      • ‘If your receiver drifted out of sync, the picture dissolved into meaningless dots and lines.’
    11. 1.11Physics A narrow range of the spectrum that is noticeably brighter or darker than the adjacent parts.
      • ‘He found spectral lines that had never been observed before and decided that they were produced by a new element.’
      • ‘The new method enabled him to measure the wavelengths of the spectral lines more precisely.’
      • ‘The extremely narrow lines of the solar spectrum require filters with correspondingly high resolution.’
      • ‘They proposed the name of rubidium for the element because of the dark red color of the most prominent of its spectral lines.’
      • ‘Each of the lines in a spectral series corresponds to a characteristic frequency or wavelength.’
    12. 1.12the line The level of the base of most letters, such as h and x, in printing and writing.
    13. 1.13Printing Computing as modifier Denoting an image consisting of lines and solid areas, with no gradation of tone.
      ‘a line block’
      ‘line art’
      • ‘This is the first stage of my cover artwork idea - black and white line art.’
      • ‘The line art is black on a red background, which is a poor way to view line art.’
      • ‘You may have noticed I've been switching around the line art images at the top of the page.’
      • ‘It supports a huge variety of line styles so you can create complex illustrations.’
    14. 1.14 Each of (usually five) horizontal lines forming a stave in musical notation.
      • ‘The traditional notation system of five lines on a paper is not the main method of training.’
    15. 1.15 A sequence of notes or tones forming an instrumental or vocal melody.
      ‘a powerful melodic line’
      • ‘This ranks among the most spectacular music of its age, with its thrilling textures and virtuoso vocal lines.’
      • ‘The Davis group used simple melodic lines over supercharged rhythmic complexity and the results are still being digested today.’
      • ‘If rap or trance music with pounding bass lines is your staple musical diet, you had better look elsewhere.’
      • ‘Moochin has a decisive Latin American feel, with rich ensembles, intricate horn and rhythm lines and a feisty alto solo from Joel Purnell.’
      • ‘The flute carries the melodic lines throughout with the piano providing the simple accompaniment.’
      • ‘In the finest folk tradition, the melody lines are long and abundantly worded.’
      • ‘The bass line from the music system must have been audible in Greenwich.’
      • ‘Wayne Shaw and Stephen Dunn layer complementary guitar parts over Brad Higgins' melodic bass lines.’
      • ‘I try to deliver the vocal lines as best I can, my own way.’
      • ‘The play their own unique style of melodic lo-fi indie rock, with flowing guitar lines, soft vocals and fat drums and bass.’
      • ‘Scott and Dankworth were blown away by the melodic lines of modern jazz and its soulful use of chord substitutions, ninths and flattened fifths.’
      • ‘There's some interesting vocal lines throughout, though nothing instantly memorable.’
      • ‘There is too much pulling about of the melodic line in the first movement for my taste.’
      • ‘Their sound combined walls of noise with unsettling calm, screeching vocals and to-die-for bass lines.’
      • ‘The album marks a slight return to more elaborated ambiences and more defined melodic lines, yet Ford firmly remains on minimal grounds here.’
      • ‘These three études are difficult virtuoso works with lush musical lines.’
      • ‘Their style is melodic driving rock, with textured guitars and strong vocal harmony lines.’
      • ‘There's also space for keyboards, strings and other textures to dip in and out amongst the emotionally charged vocals and haunting guitar lines.’
      • ‘Simon manages to imply whole whirling masses of emotional upheaval in but a few words and lines of melody.’
      • ‘Folk songs work well, but pop music of any kind or any period will do as long as it has relatively simple melody lines.’
    16. 1.16informal A dose of a powdered narcotic drug, especially cocaine, laid out in a line ready to be taken.
      • ‘Now, I have the odd pint and maybe the odd line of cocaine on a special occasion.’
      • ‘The rest of the band snorted lines, but Mick stayed back with a drink.’
      • ‘Leeds Crown Court heard all three were drinking before the attack while Johnston had also snorted four lines of cocaine.’
      • ‘If potheads are entitled to their drug of choice, why not those who prefer a line of Charlie?’
      • ‘She would be there doing heroin and I started off by just having a line on the foil.’
      • ‘He also told the jury he had had four lines of cocaine and ten pints of lager that evening.’
      • ‘He told police that he had snorted two lines of cocaine that evening, December 11 last year, but claimed the drug had no effect.’
      • ‘A line of cocaine is now cheaper than many high-street cups of coffee.’
      • ‘He bent his head back to the powder and inhaled the line through the straw.’
      • ‘Richard cut up the cocaine into two lines with a bank card he took from his wallet.’
      • ‘He said that on one occasion the couple had been heard having an argument about which of them would chop lines of cocaine or feed their dog.’
      • ‘They'd laid out little lines of the white powder on a mirror.’
  • 2A length of cord, rope, wire, or other material serving a particular purpose.

    ‘Lily pegged the washing on the line’
    • ‘In winter I washed my clothes and put them on the line to dry and they got so stiff, I was shocked.’
    • ‘Motorists watched in amazement as a 30 ft fountain of water caused an explosion on the electricity lines above a railway track.’
    • ‘Homes in south Wiltshire were left without power after electricity lines were brought down in gale-force winds last week.’
    • ‘Harris had become so weak that he could not reach a rescue line that landed in the water two feet away from him.’
    • ‘I seem to remember reading something about a study that showed a definite link between high voltage lines and increased cancer risk.’
    • ‘It ripped up trees and downed electricity lines, but no casualties were reported.’
    • ‘The life-saving crew was promptly on hand, and in a very short time had succeeded in getting a line on board.’
    • ‘Their primary concern is the potential health risks associated with high voltage overhead lines.’
    • ‘Electricity lines are down and the water supply is contaminated.’
    • ‘New office and home construction is under way, electrical lines are being strung, and roads are being paved.’
    • ‘High-voltage lines are typically made of aluminum wire wrapped around a steel cable.’
    • ‘Before the fire started electricity lines leading to the pub had been sparking.’
    • ‘All the electricity lines had to go underground and streets were widened.’
    • ‘I watered the garden and hung washing on the line.’
    • ‘The bigger fish would come biting on the line and it was my job to try and reel them in.’
    • ‘He said that whatever electricity lines came from the sub-station would be carried on wooden poles.’
    • ‘Most of the breakdowns happened because of power outages caused by salt spray on electricity lines or because of wind damage.’
    • ‘That has meant many of the electricity lines are running very close to their limits.’
    • ‘All anglers need be aware of the dangers involved when fishing near electricity lines in order to minimise the risk of accidents.’
    • ‘However, disaster was averted with the arrival of the rescue boat, which managed to get a line on board the stricken vessel and was able to tow it to safety.’
    cord, rope, string, cable, wire, thread, twine, strand, filament, ligature
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    1. 2.1 A telephone connection or service.
      ‘I've got Inspector Jackson on the line for you’
      ‘a freephone advice line’
      • ‘There was a two or three-minute delay and then a man's voice came on the on the line.’
      • ‘The lab is connected to the Museum by a video-conference system and ISDN lines.’
      • ‘Calls to mental health crisis lines provided by voluntary and religious groups have doubled in five years.’
      • ‘The majority of schools were using telephone lines to access the internet, and less than one third had ISDN connections.’
      • ‘We reported on Tuesday that we were unable to contact the Scottish club, after repeatedly trying to call the club on a direct line.’
      • ‘‘We were ringing and texting all day but of course the lines were down,’ said Patricia.’
      • ‘To find out more about the show, call the Kemble event information line on 0903 023320.’
      • ‘I could hear Dad's voice on the end of the line.’
      • ‘The state of the infrastructure is poor with low quality telephone lines and little if anything in the way of broadband.’
      • ‘High voltages can enter your computer through the phone line connected to the modem.’
      • ‘They gave me a direct line, which was a relief, instead of those infuriating 0800 numbers.’
      • ‘Telephone lines were jammed and mobile phone services briefly crashed as panicked residents called family and friends.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, officers at some stations found they could not get an outside line from landline phones.’
      • ‘Some areas of the building have suffered from minor glitches, including an inability to get direct lines into some phones.’
      • ‘The failure at the Kendal plant also meant that smaller links serving other areas of Cumbria were unable to provide land lines or internet access, he said.’
      • ‘On the line was an anxious colleague from the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union.’
      • ‘Indeed, such was the amount of calls coming in that the lines were engaged on a regular basis and many just could not get through on the night.’
      • ‘I also left voicemail for both of them on their direct line - they are apparently rarely in the office.’
      • ‘The high winds just blew away the infrastructure, broadband connections snapped and telephone lines went dead.’
      • ‘The phone lines have been cut, and a snowstorm makes outside contact next to impossible.’
    2. 2.2 A railway track.
      ‘passengers were hit by delays caused by leaves on the line’
      • ‘The animal was released back into the wild at the Leeds and Liverpool canal in Ince near the spot on the railway line where he was found.’
      • ‘A new footbridge on the A1036 will take pedestrians over the railway line.’
      • ‘The danger for fire fighters was that they could not use water on the blaze because the line was electrified.’
      • ‘They laid down 60,000 kilometres of railway lines almost a century back.’
      • ‘Around the country train services were hit as workers blockaded railway lines.’
      • ‘Last week in South Yorkshire a metal pole was placed on a railway line which pierced the underneath of a passenger carriage.’
      • ‘In recent years, most steel rails from abandoned lines have been sold to China, he said.’
      • ‘The lorry cab came to rest on the railway line, where a freight train then ploughed into it, pushing it down the track.’
      • ‘Increasingly high-profile and hard-hitting campaigns have been aimed at keeping children away from railway lines.’
      • ‘Reports of a youth on the line at a level crossing yesterday sparked an alert on the railways.’
      • ‘Children playing on the railway lines risk electrocution or being hit by a train while vandalism costs millions every year’
      • ‘Many of these trees are found alongside the many railway lines which cross the borough.’
      • ‘Transport police have released a description of a teenager found dead on a railway line in Kearsley in an attempt to identify him.’
      • ‘Residents in Station Road are angry that trees have been chopped down to prevent leaves falling on to the railway line.’
      • ‘He then managed to find a hole in the fence by the railway line and ran onto the tracks.’
      • ‘Police have put out a summer holiday alert after youngsters were seen dicing with death on railway lines near York.’
      • ‘It's not only children that trespass on railway lines.’
      • ‘Railroad officials dismantled the line and removed all vestiges of the iron rails.’
      • ‘The operation was aimed specifically at restoration of damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges and railway lines.’
      • ‘Rail passengers and a van driver had an amazing escape after his vehicle crashed on to the main Colchester to London line.’
    3. 2.3 A branch or route of a railway system.
      ‘the Glasgow to London line’
      • ‘It was suggested that up to 65,000 passengers could be using the railway if the line ran from Pickering to Whitby.’
      • ‘There was flooding of the Leeds-Carlisle and York-Darlington railway lines.’
      • ‘Bradford has for too long languished at the end of two dead-end railway lines and one dead-end motorway.’
      • ‘The minister said he would not preside over the closure of any railway lines.’
      • ‘Friday night saw long tailbacks on motorways as drivers took to the road and a weekend of engineering works on a number of key railway lines began.’
      • ‘Trains on the Hull-Scarborough line regularly rumble past their doors, but there is no stop within easy reach.’
      • ‘CIÉ had drawn up plans to close a number of railway lines late last year and suspend some freight services as part of a drive to cut costs.’
      • ‘After the service began in 1984, property values rose all along the line from Howth to Bray and under-used sites were developed for apartments or offices.’
      • ‘The coastal railway line runs parallel to the sea and a large area near the track is railway reservation land.’
      • ‘Meanwhile a public notice alerted the public to a meeting to raise interest in extending the railway line to Kettlewell.’
      • ‘Other than the expressway, two dedicated railway lines have been planned to connect Bangalore to Devanahalli.’
      • ‘It was the opening of a railway line in 1945 which facilitated this business opportunity.’
      • ‘The closest train station, the Telecom Center Station, is on the Yurikamome Line.’
      • ‘Visions of a metro system, light railways, reopened suburban lines and new tram links have been held out in front of us.’
      • ‘The strike paralysed the underground system as all lines were affected by cancellations.’
      • ‘Retime one train and you could mess up connections at half a dozen stations further down the line.’
      • ‘I fail to see how a signal failure that far down the line can have an effect as far back as White City.’
      • ‘Even now it is not too late to link the railway lines in and around the city, including the far suburbs, and provide a safe public transport system.’
      • ‘Both main railway lines between Scotland and England were shut after severe weather lashed the north of the country on Friday.’
      • ‘I'm now sat on the train from London to Braintree, a town at the end of a branch line off the main capital to coast route.’
    4. 2.4 A company that provides ships, aircraft, or buses on particular routes on a regular basis.
      ‘a major shipping line’
      • ‘As a result, shipping lines may have no alternative but to cut services.’
      • ‘Scottish shipping lines did well out of the migration, taking Jews to the east of Scotland and then on across the Atlantic from the Clyde.’
      • ‘Choosing the right cruise line and cruise itinerary can be somewhat of a challenge.’
      • ‘The cruise lines like big ships because they're more profitable, carry more passengers and require less crew.’
      • ‘The choice of cruise lines and cruise ships is pretty bewildering.’
      • ‘They are the only operator of these ultra-large ships, although other lines have them on order.’
      • ‘Already, the major shipping lines want to reduce the number of calls made to ports in north-west Europe.’
      • ‘All the major lines offer a number of routes and cruise itineraries for the Caribbean.’
      • ‘The odd thing about being an executive chef for a posh cruise line is you spend more time on planes than boats.’
      • ‘The decline in container volume was mainly due to the loss of a contract for the shipping line ANZDL.’
      • ‘Local shipping lines currently account for only 5.4 percent of the shipment of goods into and out of the country.’
      • ‘Yes, there is life even after retirement with plenty of openings in ship building industry and shipping lines.’
      • ‘Your magazine has been of great value to me in selecting vacation destinations, cruise lines, and ships.’
      • ‘By 1914 it had become one of the most innovative shipping lines in the world, and dominated the Southern Hemisphere.’
      • ‘One more refuge from the office phone calls looks set to disappear soon, as cruise lines fit antennas to ships so that mobile phones work at sea.’
      • ‘The fishing interests were sold, and the shipping line split into a separate company that may be floated in two years.’
      • ‘In the 1880s the MS&LR's fleet was replaced and other shipping lines were attracted.’
  • 3A horizontal row of written or printed words.

    ‘take the cursor up one line and press the delete key’
    • ‘Four lines of print at the bottom, stating that survival rates are improving, fail to mitigate the harsh message.’
    • ‘There was a yellow post-it note on the page and a certain line was highlighted.’
    • ‘All that remained of this page was the last line of a hand-written note.’
    • ‘On the other hand, she'd still be famous even if she'd never written a line for the stage.’
    • ‘Below is a rough translation of the first few lines of one of the essays, called The Paradox of Western Press Freedom.’
    • ‘Some authors sit down and work out their entire plot in summary form before they write even a line of prose.’
    • ‘Regarding side effects, most stories included throwaway lines advising that the drug appeared to cause few side effects, none serious.’
    • ‘I was reminded of the following lines, from Offenbach's operetta Geneviève de Brabant.’
    • ‘Because the screens are much smaller, ads are pretty much limited to a small logo and a few lines of text.’
    • ‘Doodles and a few lines of text produced by Tracy Emin raised £1,000.’
    • ‘It has a larger, 128 x 160 screen, enabling it to display ten lines of text at once.’
    • ‘He felt a sudden desire to put down on paper the thoughts which were flooding through his mind and wrote these few lines on a back of a scrap of paper he found in the car.’
    • ‘Luxembourg wrote those lines three years before the outbreak of the barbarism that was World War One.’
    • ‘Despite years of research, I cannot find a shred of evidence that Emily wrote a single line of Wuthering Heights.’
    • ‘On the final pages of the report, a few lines of fine print acknowledged the sponsors, who provided ‘unrestricted educational grants to enable us to produce the report.’’
    • ‘I bought a card in the church and wrote a few lines and sent to him.’
    • ‘But explaining all this required more than a few lines of print.’
    • ‘The use of the hyphen to divide words at the ends of lines of text dates from the 14 century.’
    • ‘When a young man refused to buy a ticket, the conductor pointed out a couple of lines written in bold letters on the front of the bus.’
    • ‘Vary the paragraph sizes and limit each paragraph to four or five lines max.’
    1. 3.1 A part of a poem or song forming one row of written or printed words.
      ‘each stanza has eight lines’
      • ‘If you read these lines out loud, you can hardly avoid getting an impression of the intended rhythm.’
      • ‘That is surely a possible alternative reading of the poem's final lines.’
      • ‘The two lines from a poem quoted on the fourth page should have been credited to Dylan Thomas.’
      • ‘Take a romantic song lyric and personalize it by changing a few words or a line or two.’
      • ‘For her cadences, she went mainly to Protestant hymns, with their steady iambic lines of eight or ten syllables.’
      • ‘All of these lines are from singles which were top 40 hits in the UK in 2001.’
      • ‘Eliot's lines from the first section of The Waste Land reflect the speakers's inability to give voice to her feelings.’
      • ‘Valery subtly suggests the progression of evening in the language of the second quatrain's closing lines.’
      • ‘The opening line of a poem or a song is intended to announce the work's theme strongly and clearly.’
      • ‘Bear in mind that the poem is more than 21,000 lines of blank verse - about twice the length of Paradise Lost.’
      • ‘The closing lines of this poem verify the poet's intense intellectual and emotional engagement with nature.’
      • ‘He concluded by quoting a line from a poem by Petrarch.’
      • ‘Written in iambic pentameter, it is comprised of two stanzas of four lines each, rhyming abab.’
      • ‘The Eclogues, four short poems, 319 lines in all, are strongly influenced by Virgil and Calpurnius.’
      • ‘The competition for the meeting is for the best poem of eight lines about autumn.’
      • ‘The fourteen lines of the poem mimic the standard fourteen-line form of the sonnet.’
      • ‘The same thing happens in the second two lines of the first stanza.’
      • ‘The poems can be on any subject, in any form, and there is a line limit of 30 lines.’
      • ‘Besides, quoting a few lines from a poem at a party will make people think you're terribly sophisticated!’
      • ‘The concluding lines of the poem stress the power the experience still holds.’
      • ‘There are no quotation marks to indicate these lines are by another author than Burns.’
      sentence, phrase, group of words, prosodic unit, Construction, clause, utterance
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2lines The words of an actor's part in a play or film.
      ‘he couldn't seem to remember his lines and had to read his dialogue off boards’
      • ‘Apparently, the series is shot without a script and the cast are given scene outlines and often improvise lines as they go.’
      • ‘Busy with his own show, he had little time for learning lines and so wrote them on his arm for the opening night.’
      • ‘He told his actors to speak their lines as if they were speaking to themselves.’
      • ‘Here are your scripts, practice your lines and be ready in 2 days.’
      • ‘He spoke his lines in English and then had them dubbed by an Indian voiceover actor.’
      • ‘But, the moment she began speaking her lines, everyone was as in awe of her as I had been at auditions.’
      • ‘They gave her a thick script and told her she had two weeks to learn her lines for the television show.’
      • ‘De France dubs her own lines in the English sections, by the way, and it makes a big difference.’
      • ‘Like an ageing actor he muddled his lines and and missed his cues.’
      • ‘At his cue, Jeremy sprang onto the stage, ready to recite his lines.’
      • ‘A good script is worthless unless you have good actors to deliver the lines well.’
      • ‘As a result, many of the actors scream their lines as if they're on the verge of hysterics.’
      • ‘Everyone cringes when an actor flubs his lines or when a skater trips over her toes.’
      • ‘He sees how each scene should look, how the music should feel, how the actors should speak their lines.’
      • ‘He was always on time and ready with his lines, if not exactly sober.’
      • ‘There is more to putting on the play than merely learning your lines and standing in a designated position.’
      • ‘If an actor forgot his lines, a special button was pressed to cut off the sound to the viewer.’
      • ‘We have all seen this movie a hundred times and can pretty much speak all the actor's lines from memory.’
      • ‘His singing and dancing are comparatively weak, and he speaks all of his lines with an undisguised Australian twang.’
      • ‘From the evidence of this movie, he may well be the worst actor alive: he speaks his lines as if he only recently learned how to talk.’
      words, role, part, script, speech, dialogue
      View synonyms
    3. 3.3linesBritish An amount of text or number of repetitions of a sentence written out as a school punishment.
      ‘five hundred lines to anyone caught sneaking in before the bell!’
      • ‘His detention turns out to be much more unorthodox than writing a hundred lines.’
      • ‘At school he had to draw pictures instead of doing lines as punishment.’
  • 4A row of people or things.

    ‘a line of altar boys proceeded down the aisle’
    • ‘A seemingly endless line of petrol tankers cruises along the road, their drivers smiling at us as we speed by.’
    • ‘The taxis were standing in a line, one behind the other.’
    • ‘The Vauxhall, travelling towards Bath, was overtaking a line of stationary vehicles looking to turn right.’
    • ‘A line of uniformed police proceeded through the crowds.’
    • ‘Long lines of blood donors queued up outside area hospitals.’
    • ‘By the time the doors opened, more than 100 people had queued, in a line stretching back to Peasholme Green.’
    • ‘A car went into a line of parked vehicles on Clacton seafront causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage.’
    • ‘A ditch and a line of trees ran along the edge of the playing fields.’
    • ‘We see long lines of traffic on single lanes leading up to roundabouts when common sense dictates that an extra lane should have been put in from day one.’
    • ‘His blue Peugeot car had been overtaking a line of traffic when it turned a corner, clipped a kerb and went out of control’
    • ‘Mountains are a focal point of the scenery, of course, and a line of Munros divides Glen Etive from Glen Kinglass.’
    1. 4.1North American A queue.
      • ‘I enter the post office and take my place at the back of the line that stretches from the counter all the way through the large room, out the door, and into the lobby area.’
      • ‘The man who'd been ahead of them in the line ended up sitting five or six people away.’
      • ‘We do pay-per-view at seven in the morning in pubs, and we get lines out the door.’
      • ‘I am not angry with anyone but it is unfair to lot of people like me to do everything they're supposed to do while refugees and asylees can simply jump the line ahead of everybody else.’
      • ‘I've seen lines out the door for people waiting to check in to the hotel.’
      • ‘At the American supermarket I learnt that we must join the line, not the queue.’
      • ‘It took me less than 15 minutes yesterday to fill the car with gasoline as there were only 11 vehicles waiting in the line ahead of me.’
      • ‘Standing in the line ahead of me was Rob, hopping from foot to foot, clutching at a delivery slip.’
      • ‘International connections were impossible also and long lines formed at pay phones.’
      • ‘Panhandlers and street sleepers proliferate in New York, and soup kitchen lines have become noticeably longer.’
      • ‘In other parts of the world, the book is already available, and the lines out front of bookstores are staggering.’
      • ‘Have you ever seen a leader standing in a line to purchase train tickets or paying his personal bills?’
      • ‘You name what you want, buy the coupons, and then join the line before the serving counters.’
      • ‘More tired and thirsty than they had ever been, Kada and Sead finally reached the front of the line, ready to scramble aboard a bus.’
      • ‘The women set all the food out on the picnic tables and soon a line formed as people got their food..’
      • ‘Caitlin raced into an immigration line, grabbing her half finished card.’
      • ‘It was also the fastest moving line I have every been in at the airport.’
      • ‘But the jobs we are talking about, there are not long lines of Americans ready to take them.’
      • ‘A woman in the line ahead of me kept up a running commentary on whether to have a soda or a soft ice - cream, but when she finally reached the counter there was no soft ice cream left.’
      • ‘The coffee shop was crowded now but he pushed his way to the front of the line at the counter.’
    2. 4.2 A connected series of people following one another in time (used especially of several generations of a family)
      ‘we follow the history of a family through the male line’
      • ‘There's fine breeding stock in there, if only he knew it, and I feel it is my duty to help him propagate the family line.’
      • ‘By the middle of the tenth century the last Danish king had been driven out of England and the West Saxon line now ruled the whole country.’
      • ‘Constantine's ancestry in the male line was Gaelic, like most Pictish kings in the 9th cent.’
      • ‘The Jesse Tree is a type of Family Tree - the family line from which Jesus the Saviour was born.’
      • ‘Mrs Caywood-Guffy has traced her family line back to an ancestor who lived in Cawood in 1200.’
      • ‘Boys were desirable because they carried on the family name, which was passed on through the male line.’
      • ‘This story has supposedly been passed all the way down the line, directly from Tara.’
      • ‘All titles were heritable and followed the male line of descent almost exclusively.’
      • ‘Plaques and stones dotted along pavements and hidden in backstreets commemorate those who died, and those family lines that were ended by the bomb.’
      • ‘The family line is passed through the male heir and so it is important to people to have a male offspring.’
      • ‘Now, the pendant passes down the female line in our family, given to each woman on her wedding day.’
      • ‘If you want to learn about magic, chances are you weren't the first in your family line to have that calling.’
      • ‘Expert practitioners in Japan can trace their family lines back through 43 generations of Ikenobo masters.’
      • ‘The male family line had served in the armed forces for generations.’
      • ‘Ms King said the skills are passed through the family line but not necessarily from mother to daughter.’
      • ‘Charlie has broken the generational pattern of anger and abuse in his family line.’
      • ‘He was the best of his family but the male line is extinguished.’
      • ‘Mrs Clarke herself lives in Winchester and is keeping the family line going with a daughter and three grandchildren.’
      ancestry, family, parentage, birth, descent, lineage, extraction, derivation, heritage, genealogy, roots, house, dynasty, origin, background
      View synonyms
    3. 4.3 A series of related things.
      ‘the bill is the latest in a long line of measures to protect society from criminals’
      • ‘Last night a spokesman for Leeds United said that the leaflet was the latest in a long line of measures aimed at stamping out the problem.’
      • ‘Norwich Union is the latest in a long line of financial services companies to move call centre jobs to India.’
      • ‘Three wheelie bin blazes in the early hours of Thursday are the latest in a line of 24 arson attacks in the last year.’
      • ‘The drug has been hailed by some as a mental Viagra, the latest in a line of designer drugs that don't so much cure ills as improve quality of life.’
      • ‘The new out-patient department is the latest in a line of enhanced services being provided from the hospital.’
      • ‘It would be the latest in a line of discount chains in the town, which already include KwikSave, Farmfoods and Aldi.’
      • ‘After all, Coetzee is widely considered as following in the line of Kafka and Beckett.’
      • ‘Capt Rimington and his son come from a long line of distinguished Naval officers.’
      • ‘It was the latest in a long line of frustrating races for Coulthard.’
      • ‘One worker at the restaurant said it was the latest in a long line of attacks involving youngsters from the school.’
      series, sequence, succession, chain, string, train
      View synonyms
    4. 4.4 A range of commercial goods.
      ‘the company intends to hire more people and expand its product line’
      • ‘This meant a change in product lines and a revamp of the brand.’
      • ‘Her Adidas tennis dresses and her own much-publicised line of sport bras are making her millions.’
      • ‘We thought it would be a good idea to give you a broad overview of the many product lines out there with some background information and attributes of each product.’
      • ‘Shareholders can expect to see a continued roll-out of new product lines and distribution channels.’
      • ‘Bradford supermarket giant Morrisons has taken 44 product lines off its shelves.’
      • ‘The company has streamlined its existing product range and launched the new lines after extensive consumer research.’
      • ‘Automotive history is replete with instances where luxury brands expanded their lines downmarket.’
      • ‘The line will feature all manner of garments, from party dresses to sweaters.’
      • ‘Intel cited broad success across all of its major product lines during a healthy third quarter.’
      • ‘Tills and customer service desks have been moved, with more space being provided for extra product lines.’
      • ‘Cost is again an issue, because expanding product lines would slow down production.’
      • ‘Increased scale will allow the co-op to drive down unit costs across their branded and own-label product lines.’
      • ‘Rose has taken only a few days to prove to investors that he may have the answers to the long-running issues of poor stock and low market share in certain product lines.’
      • ‘Across the country, companies are halting projects and dropping product lines.’
      • ‘He later diversified into the toy market and the company supplies major retailers with over 800 lines of toys.’
      • ‘Now he hoped to expand his line of products and services by taking advantage of the Web.’
      • ‘Half of the product lines were shipped out, mostly to low-wage countries, including Mexico.’
      • ‘The following year, they introduced their first two organic product lines.’
      • ‘It's not surprising, then, that the demand for new products and new lines at Wal-Mart is unending.’
      • ‘Expect discounts of 35 per cent on most ranges with selected lines at half price.’
      brand, kind, sort, type, variety, make, label, trade name, trademark, registered trademark
      View synonyms
  • 5An area or branch of activity.

    ‘the stresses unique to their line of work’
    • ‘Yet again, it has been made clear to me that I'm in the wrong line of work.’
    • ‘And yet we thought that in some ways it was a fitting tribute to a man in his line of work.’
    • ‘Obviously, in my line of work, I spend more time watching other teams playing than I do watching my own.’
    • ‘It's unusual in my line of work to get to see a production more than once, no matter how much you would like to.’
    • ‘Staring at a computer screen all day wasn't the best line of work but it paid pretty well.’
    • ‘Perhaps he blurs fact and fiction a little in places but then again I guess that's forgivable in his line of work.’
    • ‘His current line of work does have some inbuilt advantages for a politician, however.’
    • ‘At least my interests are more intellectual than in the line of physical work.’
    • ‘The problem with my line of work is that I always wear casual, old clothes.’
    • ‘I've taken a low-risk option because my line of work is more risky than most.’
    • ‘Wordsworth was a rather loquacious sort, a trait that served him well in his line of work.’
    • ‘The way things go in his line of work, he could even have been out of a job by that point, so this is definitely the right decision.’
    • ‘She realises she is going into a competitive line of work.’
    • ‘Football players have to give up their profession at an early age and start all over and find a new line of work.’
    • ‘He remarked that a person in his line of work gets to see places that most people never see.’
    • ‘In my line of work how much money I made was based on how well I did my job and how much effort I put into it.’
    • ‘In my line of work I see people from all kinds of backgrounds, with all kinds of problems.’
    • ‘At 74, he is an old man who has spent 50 years in the same line of work, and who is now ready to enjoy some years of relaxation.’
    • ‘Also, hopefully, I am in a line of work that will allow me to keep going beyond the conventional retirement age.’
    • ‘Whatever line of work a young adult opts to go into, he or she should be reasonably confident of a decent standard of living.’
    line of work, line of business, business, field, trade, occupation, employment, profession, work, job, day job, calling, vocation, career, pursuit, activity, walk of life
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1 A direction, course, or channel.
      ‘he opened another line of attack’
      • ‘Contemporary opponents of liberalism prefer indirect lines of attack.’
      • ‘My first line of attack would have to be improving the management of the country's security services.’
      • ‘We'll have to wait and see what the reasons are but there are essentially two overlapping lines of attack.’
      • ‘Sometimes the various lines of attack become crossed.’
      • ‘Smoke alarms are the first line of defence against fire and international research indicates that a working smoke alarm reduces the risk of death in a fire by nearly 50%.’
      • ‘For most campaigners, the line of attack is education, education and more education.’
      • ‘It allowed the Germans to concentrate against the expected line of attack.’
      • ‘Well, since it's a legitimate line of attack, I think we should explore it a little further.’
      • ‘The Public Health Unit director said an annual vaccination was the best line of defence against the flu.’
      course of action, course, procedure, mo, technique, way, tactic, tack, system, method, process, manner
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2lines A manner of doing or thinking about something.
      ‘you can't run a business on these lines’
      ‘the superintendent was thinking along the same lines’
      • ‘In 1820 Schumann was sent to the local Gymnasium, where his education proceeded on traditional lines.’
      • ‘In some ways NHS policy is moving along the same lines.’
      • ‘More witnesses have come forward in the past week providing officers with new lines of inquiry.’
      • ‘Over 30 years ago undergraduate physics labs in Glasgow University were run on very similar lines to the Oxford system you describe.’
      • ‘There is a shortage of Olympic-size pools and most of these are run on commercial lines, so British swimming cannot afford priority access.’
      • ‘And last night I had a conversation with my dad along the same lines.’
      • ‘You are more likely to have major breakthroughs when your line of thought isn't being interrupted.’
      • ‘Apparently they haven't bothered to follow this line of reasoning to its obvious conclusion.’
      • ‘The album was launched with a big bang, and the band was promoted on the same lines as girl bands abroad.’
      • ‘Taken alone, this line of argument presents a weak case against the single tax.’
      • ‘John Manley, former Deputy Prime Minister, has argued along the same lines.’
      • ‘These lines of research can better inform prevention and intervention programs for adolescent problems.’
      • ‘The final point I would like to make is that I understand that the Australians adopted legislation along these lines some time ago.’
      • ‘Two independent lines of evidence provide support for our conclusion.’
      • ‘A drugs overdose is one line of inquiry police have been investigating.’
      • ‘Gardai confirmed yesterday that they have a definite line of enquiry in connection with this robbery.’
      • ‘This has led me to instruct the State Security Corps not to rule out any line of investigation.’
      • ‘You may disagree with it, but it's social policy on the same lines as that toward drug users or speeders.’
      • ‘He really didn't like this line of questioning, but he felt trapped.’
      • ‘We both seemed to be thinking along the same lines.’
      course of action, course, procedure, mo, technique, way, tactic, tack, system, method, process, manner
      course, direction, drift, tack, tendency, trend, bias, tenor
      View synonyms
    3. 5.3 An agreed approach; a policy.
      ‘the official line is that there were no chemical attacks on allied troops’
      • ‘EU governments were expected to agree a common line on the issue at a meeting in Belgium this weekend, he said.’
      • ‘Do you think that the High Court's line on this issue is, at the end of the day, a sensible one?’
      • ‘A foreign ministry spokeswoman insisted the government was taking a firm line on corruption.’
      • ‘This Government has been prepared to take a tough line on crime and sentencing.’
      • ‘The senior civil servants are expected to brief their departmental ministers according to the agreed line.’
      • ‘Under his tenure its political line has been marked by a further shift to the right.’
      • ‘He took a libertarian line on drug supply, but had rather stern views on consumption.’
      • ‘The SNP is giving its MSPs a free vote on this, not least because it has yet to establish a common line.’
      • ‘He would like to see the courts taking a tougher line with young troublemakers.’
    4. 5.4informal A false or exaggerated remark or story.
      ‘he fed me a line about some nightclubbing Japanese photographer’
      ‘none of my chat-up lines ever worked’
      • ‘The more you hear this line repeated throughout the season, the more trouble the Yankees are in.’
      • ‘Luckily for her, she had a line ready when guys hit on her.’
      • ‘As far as opening lines go, it wasn't horribly original but, at the time, I really didn't care.’
      • ‘He's small and chunky, with an inexhaustible supply of chat-up lines.’
      • ‘Of course, his convincing line to me was that his only interest in America was the fact that he found me here.’
      • ‘Australian workers have been fed this line for over a decade now and the end result is we're working harder than ever with less job security.’
      • ‘As such he might be expected to trot out the line about how every game will be crucial, and what a marvellous cricketing spectacle it will be.’
      • ‘The chairman stated that the company is back on track, but that line has been around for a while and investors do not seem to be buying it.’
      patter, story, pitch, piece of fiction, fabrication
      View synonyms
  • 6A connected series of military fieldworks or defences facing an enemy force.

    ‘raids behind enemy lines’
    • ‘As a U.S. Marine, Tom Arnold learned how to gather information behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘As defeat stared him in the face he ordered his cavalry to cut their way through the enemy lines and escape to Plymouth.’
    • ‘It's the first time details of SAS missions behind enemy lines have been revealed.’
    • ‘Periodical intense bombardments all along the line, any one of which might have been the preliminary to a great offensive, left the Germans doubtful as to where the real blow would fall.’
    • ‘The United States had no unit dedicated to the resupply of forces behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘When an agent is caught behind enemy lines, they must fend for themselves.’
    • ‘Toward the end of the first day of the battle, the Rebels overran the Federal lines and were on the verge of victory.’
    • ‘Therefore, sending him to operate covertly behind enemy lines was a tremendous risk for the regime.’
    • ‘He began to recruit, train and insert agents who would gather intelligence behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘Through the night, ammunition was replenished all along the line.’
    • ‘Caught behind enemy lines, they sought refuge in the village of Villeret, near Saint Quentin.’
    • ‘During the retreat a guerrilla resistance force was organized to conduct sabotage, operating behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘Following this exchange, the gunfire died down all along the line.’
    • ‘He flew about 20 hazardous missions on board a Hercules aircraft, transporting men and equipment behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘When asked about the prospect of being shot down behind enemy lines, Breen remembers the optimism of youth.’
    • ‘They were to get behind enemy lines and act as scouts and gather intelligence to feed back to British military headquarters.’
    • ‘Now aged 80 and living in Britain, he is giving today's young people a fascinating glimpse of life behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘The best journalistic despatches always come from behind enemy lines.’
    • ‘In particular, it is often forgotten that the last 100 days the British were attacking all along the line, and the Germans were in retreat.’
    • ‘In one day, British forces advanced five miles into German lines.’
    position, formation, disposition, front, front line, firing line
    View synonyms
    1. 6.1 An arrangement of soldiers or ships in a column or line formation; a line of battle.
      • ‘The viewer, like the soldiers, has no clear sense of the battle lines.’
      • ‘Rather than working on adversarial battle lines, the ideal Prime Minister works towards constructive solutions.’
      • ‘He drew up his knights and his two thousand foot soldiers in a line outside the city.’
      • ‘Toward the end of the war, units were changing their offensive tactics from massed lines to small groups.’
      • ‘The battle lines in the war over judges have been clearly marked between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.’
      • ‘At the top of this descent stood a single soldier encouraging the line to move ahead more quickly.’
      • ‘His status as the son of a U.S. Senator landed him a cushy desk job in cozy surroundings far distant from the battle lines.’
      • ‘Someone shouted that the enemy was charging; the reserve lines readied their cartridges.’
      • ‘The massive line of rebel soldiers became clear as the cloud of smoke began to thin.’
      • ‘At night, I make another sortie to the battle lines, armed with my mask.’
      • ‘The battle lines are gradually becoming apparent in the Nice Treaty campaign.’
      • ‘The battle lines were so close together that the sounds of the opposing army's music carried through the forest.’
      • ‘After the Social Liberal walk-out on June 20, the battle lines became clear.’
      • ‘Taylor was marching beside Shane when he heard a ruckus at the end of the line of soldiers.’
      • ‘After a series of running fights between detachments, each side managed to form a battle line.’
      • ‘On the battlefield a bugle plays reveille and the lines of soldiers stir, ready to surge forward.’
      file, rank, column, string, chain
      View synonyms
    2. 6.2the line Regular army regiments (as opposed to auxiliary forces or household troops).

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Stand or be positioned at intervals along.

    ‘a processional route lined by people waving flags’
    • ‘Although thousands of people lined the pavements to salute the couple, the turnout was much lower than had been expected.’
    • ‘There is a crowd of chanting people walking down the street, traffic is at a standstill and police line the pavements.’
    • ‘The approach to the house, via a long tree-lined sweeping avenue, takes you back to the era of Emily Bronte.’
    • ‘Trees lined the sidewalks, creating shade for relaxing walks on summer days.’
    • ‘Before the lying in state began, the coffin was carried through the streets on a horse-drawn carriage as thousand of onlookers lined the pavements.’
    • ‘But the crowds lining the pavements of the city centre seemed oblivious to the problems which had led up to the day.’
    • ‘Fans lined nearly every fairway, and both Vijay Singh and John Daly had huge groups follow them around the course.’
    • ‘Cocoa trees lined most of the main roads that led to her home.’
    • ‘Manda glanced around in appreciation at the quiet street, and the snow-covered trees that lined the sidewalk.’
    • ‘The cortège drove past the university, where hundreds of students and staff silently lined the pavements or watched from vantage points on surrounding buildings.’
    • ‘The street was lined on either side by majestic oaks, guarding the way.’
    • ‘It was a nice walk, with pine trees lining the sidewalk.’
    • ‘Riot police lined the sidewalk and followed the march on bicycles and motorcycles, at times ramming the retreating protesters.’
    • ‘Scores of police on foot and horseback lined the route as the protestors marched at a slow pace, bringing traffic to a standstill.’
    • ‘The event was just like a carnival, with many thousands of residents lining the roadsides to watch the procession.’
    • ‘The choice of cafés lining the riverside is dazzling: Tex-Mex, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and Indian all vie to outdo each other on price and size.’
    • ‘They lined the pavement just yards from the front door of Number 10.’
    • ‘The rear of Selfridges is a grim place, just a service road lined by characterless buildings, and totally unlike the elegance of the imposing frontage.’
    • ‘People lined the sidewalks, waiting to get into the theatre.’
    • ‘The next day thousands of spectators lined the route.’
    border, edge, fringe, bound, skirt, hem, rim
    View synonyms
  • 2usually as adjective linedMark or cover with lines.

    ‘a thin woman with a lined face’
    ‘lined paper’
    • ‘In just 15 days, they look plumper and less lined and lipstick stops ‘feathering’ and lasts longer.’
    • ‘Behind the large paper-covered desk opposite the door sat an elderly man with graying hair and a lined face.’
    • ‘As for the writing paper (which should never be called note paper), this must be plain, not lined, and white or ivory.’
    • ‘His hair is wispy and grey and his face more lined than I remember it, but his eyebrows are thick and dark and his mind as sharp as ever.’
    • ‘Her face was deeply lined and she had large dark circles under her eyes.’
    • ‘Sean Penn - lined, morose and world-weary - is outstanding as a federal agent assigned to to protect her.’
    • ‘But when we meet at the office of his London publishers he looks younger, his face less lined.’
    • ‘He began to look older than his years, heavier in the midsection, more lined in the face.’
    • ‘His face was dark and deeply lined, his stubbly grey beard looked about four days old, but still he smiled.’
    • ‘His broad, brown-red face was only lightly lined, its earnest, amiable expression reflecting an inner comfort.’
    • ‘Why would they want to detract from the effect by allowing their hair and clothes to smell like a dirty ashtray and their faces to become prematurely lined?’
    • ‘His face has always had that lined and lived-in look, but as he sits sipping a glass of water in an Edinburgh hotel he has the luminescent glow of someone who keeps fit and healthy.’
    • ‘His face seemed lined and there was no hint of expression.’
    • ‘There was also lined paper with scratched out math problems and crumpled sheets with the beginnings of sentences.’
    • ‘His face is stern and lined, as if he worries too much.’
    • ‘I handed him a fresh sheet of lined paper and watched him scribble away.’
    • ‘Over her shoulder, she cast Mark a curious glance before unfolding the small, lined piece of paper.’
    • ‘If you use it on the arms and shoulders your skin will feel polished, glowing, and over time, less lined.’
    • ‘Women's faces surrounded her, some lined, some smooth, some cruel, some kind, but none familiar.’
    • ‘Looking at the his lined, weary face, it was hard not to feel sorry for him.’
    ruled, feint
    wrinkled, wrinkly, furrowed, creased, marked with lines, covered with lines, crinkled, wizened, leathery, worn, puckered, grooved, corrugated
    furrow, wrinkle, crease, mark with lines, cover with lines, crinkle, pucker, corrugate
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • above the line

    • 1Finance
      Denoting or relating to money spent on items of current expenditure.

      ‘£75 million charges taken above the line for redundancies and property write-offs’
      • ‘Figure that the gross point players have got to be in for 10 to 20 percent this time around and that above the line cash costs have to be around $30 million.’
      • ‘The £67 million would be split 50: 50 above the line and below the line.’
      • ‘But they are paying substantial service costs because those costs are above the line.’
      • ‘Any credits that appear within earnings, reflecting amortization of a reduction in the liability estimates, would be above the line, potentially aiding executive pay along with the stock price.’
      • ‘Budgets are also compared to costs, both above the line and internal.’
    • 2Marketing
      Denoting or relating to advertising in the mass media.

      ‘with no above-the-line advertising spend, every spare dollar available for marketing is directed towards point-of-sale promotions’
      • ‘The company plans a substantial "above-the-line" campaign, which means any marketing support beyond what the carrier plans to provide.’
      • ‘They are making some core investments in above-the-line marketing initiatives, including commissioning TV ads, set to air nationwide throughout 2013.’
      • ‘The company is to unveil the above-the-line component of a new music-based campaign during Saturday's AFL grand final.’
      • ‘He emphasised to them that he is focused on conversion from marketing, whether social media or above the line, into hard core bookings.’
      • ‘Marketing is changing: the customer experience no longer recognizes offline, online, above the line or below.’
    • 3Denoting bonus points and penalty points, which do not count towards the game.

      • ‘The player who makes seven or more tricks scores as though they had played a contract of 1NT, and gets an additional premium of 100 above the line.’
  • all (the way) down (or along) the line

    • At every point or stage.

      ‘the mistakes were due to lack of care all down the line’
      • ‘They are exploited all the way along the line by labour recruiting companies and employers alike who frequently treat them as little more than slave labour.’
      • ‘They totally contradicted themselves all along the line.’
      • ‘The price pressure goes all the way down the line, and certainly goes to the contract manufacturers.’
      • ‘We're going to campaign against it all the way down the line to the Senate vote and on to the election.’
      • ‘If you remove that important link from the top of the food chain, you're going to have some real problems all the way down the line.’
      • ‘At every point, I thought somebody was going to resolve the matter, but all the way along the line, whoever I went to just made it worse.’
      • ‘There is going to be absolute heartbreak all the way down the line.’
      • ‘The living-wage legislation that the City Council then crafted and passed, with heavy union input all down the line, subjected every business in the tourism district to its terms - except unionized hotels.’
      • ‘In other words, the falling rate of return on long-term risk-free Treasury debt has lowered rates of return all along the line.’
      • ‘We're asking customs authorities to tighten up surveillance all along the line.’
  • along (or down) the line

    • At a further, later, or unspecified point.

      ‘I knew that somewhere down the line there would be an inquest’
      • ‘Twenty months down the line, the talks are off but the problems which prompted them remain.’
      • ‘She was maybe 20 and had vague hopes, somewhere down the line, of becoming an actor.’
      • ‘Hopefully people will benefit a few years down the line if English managers get a good name.’
      • ‘After all, if a kid is talented at five, odds-on they will still be talented ten years down the line.’
      • ‘He's obviously spoken out at some point down the line and upset his manager.’
      • ‘They may be simply storing up more problems for themselves down the line.’
      • ‘Alas, twelve months down the line and the whole project seems to be dead in the water.’
      • ‘Naturally, somewhere along the line there will have to be an admission of guilt and the possibility of reconciliation.’
      • ‘It has been a long, hard struggle but, ten years down the line, her life really does seem to be back on track.’
      • ‘In fairness, it's early days yet and some of these issues may be fixed down the line.’
  • below the line

    • 1Finance
      Denoting or relating to money spent on items of capital expenditure.

      ‘a £4 million extraordinary charge below the line’
    • 2Marketing
      Denoting or relating to advertising by means such as direct mail, email, promotional events, etc.

      ‘they choose to spend the bulk of their budget in below-the-line digital marketing’
      • ‘The launch will be supported by a variety of above- and below-the-line marketing activities, including trade and consumer PR support.’
      • ‘A combination of below-the-line media deliver a good media mix that carries the consumer down the media path to persuasion effectively.’
      • ‘Research shows that for certain customers below-the-line marketing is much more effective than above-the-line marketing.’
      • ‘The TVC is supported with radio spots, an online campaign, signage, and a series of below-the-line offerings.’
      • ‘The role will incorporate a mix of above and below the line, digital, print, display and social marketing.’
      • ‘Some wireless carrier executives said the company also spends more on below-the-line marketing than any device-maker.’
    • 3Denoting points for tricks bid and won, which count towards the game.

      • ‘Anything the opponents had below the line does not count towards the next game - they start from zero again.’
    • 4Denoting or relating to a section at the end of an online article or blog post in which readers can post comments.

      ‘the issue causes embarrassment in the UK, as you can see from the numerous comments below the line’
      • ‘We will usually provide some commentary below the line.’
      • ‘I'm going to blog some reactions to today's expected marriage rulings, below the line.’
      • ‘Share your best attempts below the line here.’
      • ‘Below-the-line comments from the public fizz with outrage.’
      • ‘It's things like that which rile up the below-the-line commentators the most!’
      • ‘Judging from the number of blogs and articles, below-the-line comments and phone-ins, the tastes of fans have changed.’
      • ‘The piece highlighted the more insidious sides of racism and ignited a fierce debate below the line.’
      • ‘Thanks for all your contributions via email and below the line.’
      • ‘From reading below the line here there seem to be quite enough people who share your views without needing to make them up.’
  • bring someone/something into line

    • Cause someone or something to conform.

      ‘the change in the law will bring Britain into line with Europe’
      • ‘Huge pressure is being put on England to bring its legal system into line with the rest of the European Union.’
      • ‘As of Jan 1, the game we play called soccer will now officially be known as football, thus bringing Australia into line with the rest of the world.’
      • ‘A council spokesman said charges had been frozen last year and the rises brought them into line with other councils.’
      • ‘She said Government policy required all registered social landlords to ensure rents were brought into line with what is known as a target rent.’
      • ‘The proposal also brings Scots Law into line with the European Convention of Human Rights.’
      • ‘If 33% of new petrol cars purchased were replaced by diesel versions, bringing Ireland into line with the rest of Europe, our emissions would be 7.4% lower.’
      • ‘Big enterprises found it easy to get funding to upgrade their premises to bring them into line with the regulations, but small local businesses did not have such opportunities.’
      • ‘Last week the Scottish Lib Dems suggested bringing Scotland into line with the rest of Europe by raising the school starting age to six.’
      • ‘Mr Ford has called on the Federal Minister to start consultations so that state and Commonwealth fisheries laws can be brought into line.’
      • ‘The Law Society has written to 150 solicitors warning them to bring their websites into line with new advertising regulations or face disciplinary action.’
  • come down to the line

    • (of a race) be closely fought right until the end.

      • ‘It all came down to the line with Biziak and Kavas just forcing out Laos and Raagel to win gold with Estonia taking silver and Hungary winning a credible bronze.’
      • ‘If it comes down to the line, which team would I place my money on?’
  • cross a (or the) line

    • Do something that is outside the bounds of acceptable behaviour.

      ‘this article crossed a line and I am disgusted’
      • ‘You can decide for yourself if you think he was simply telling the truth or if he crossed a line.’
      • ‘There should be a policy in place to deal with those who cross the line.’
      • ‘The judge's ruling in the case should indicate whether police were doing their job or if they crossed the line.’
      • ‘He assumed our conversation was simply banter and thought I had crossed a line.’
      • ‘When a president attacks your life and your family on national television, he has crossed a line that makes it impossible to support him with integrity.’
      • ‘A lot of people felt that this leak crossed a line, which it certainly did.’
  • come into line

    • Conform.

      ‘Britain has come into line with other Western democracies in giving the vote to its citizens living abroad’
      • ‘This year Ontario comes into line with most of the rest of North America in transforming a typical high school diploma into a four-year process.’
      • ‘This is in spite of government pressure for the university to come into line with other universities which charge overseas students higher fees.’
      • ‘The whole issue of software patents recently came up in Europe as the EU debated whether to change its laws in order to come into line with the US and Japan.’
      • ‘It will also mean that your home will come into line with the latest building regulations.’
      • ‘The other 220 owners have agreed to sell, but the deal may not work if the others don't come into line.’
      • ‘An FA spokesman confirmed yesterday that English football was likely to come into line with the rest of the world next season.’
      • ‘The California Nurses Association charges that the corporation is refusing to come into line with industry standards over issues such as staffing, pensions and retiree health benefits.’
      • ‘‘I think that the regulator will be insisting that all drivers come into line with the kind of standards we have set,’ he said.’
      • ‘The move was motivated by the need to come into line with European Union expectations regarding energy prices, global fuel prices, and to reduce losses by the national oil and gas company.’
      • ‘Qantas remains quietly confident that after some initial huffing and puffing, and even some limited protests, all unions will come into line.’
  • do a line with

    • informal Have a regular romantic or sexual romantic relationship with (someone)

      ‘I knew if I went home for Christmas I'd have to pretend I was doing a line with some man’
      • ‘Veronica told her that in the four years she had been doing a line with Andy, she never risked bringing him inside the door in case Jacko had drink in him.’
      • ‘They danced with us early in the night and after their social responsibilities to us were over, they went off to dance with whomever they were doing a line with, or women of their own age.’
  • draw a line under

    • Resolve not to engage in further discussion or consideration of (a difficult or distressing issue or situation)

      ‘we need to draw a line under this whole affair, not prolong it’
  • draw the line

    • Set a limit on what one is willing to do or accept.

      ‘Alex shared the domestic work but drew the line at laundry and mending’
      stop short of, refuse to accept, draw a line in the sand, baulk at
      View synonyms
  • the end of the line

    • The point at which further effort is unproductive or one can go no further.

      see the end of the road at end
      • ‘We're not taking it any further: we've come to the end of the line and used all the procedures we can.’
      • ‘We haven't finished this process and we have to go back out into the communities to talk through issues people may have: this is not the end of the line.’
      • ‘Jeff's a man with integrity and compassion who nevertheless finds himself at the end of the line thanks to the poor choices and unwise decisions he's made in life.’
      • ‘I am afraid you have reached the end of the line so far as the law courts are concerned.’
      • ‘Mr Crawford's fight finally reached the end of the line this month when his appeal was dismissed.’
      • ‘Its owner believes a bad turn-out this Bank Holiday weekend could signal the end of the line for the little zoo in North Lincolnshire.’
  • get a line on

    • informal Learn something about.

      ‘the police had no difficulty getting a line on the man’
      • ‘The subsidiary responsible for operating the Web sites of 30 baseball teams must get a line on where its fans live before selling them video streams.’
      • ‘She's got a line on a two-bedroom apartment in nearby Le Sueur that might be affordable.’
      • ‘Sipowicz is searching for Lou DaSilva and he gets a line on where he can be found, so he and Clark go after him.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, I hope Interpol gets a line on this operation and raids them for counterfeit goods.’
      • ‘On Thursdays, I review newspaper classifieds to get a line on the yard and estate sales I'll visit the coming weekend.’
      • ‘If you've got a line on something going on in the private sector, let me know.’
      • ‘Though the network often used freelancers, I'd never worked with Bill before so I was trying to get a line on what he was seeing through his lens.’
      • ‘We could waste hours and days trying to get a line on Jarrow.’
      • ‘And remember Sheldon if you get a line on where Regan is you call me, is that clear?’
      • ‘Lots of information here; a good place to start if you just need to get a line on what's available.’
  • in line

    • 1Under control.

      ‘that threat kept a lot of people in line’
      • ‘The church has overused the concept of unity in the name of control and keeping people in line.’
      • ‘They're purposefully designed to keep us in line by giving us a glimpse of what life would be like if schools didn't exist.’
      • ‘The desire to control women and keep us in line is both overt and covert in North America.’
      • ‘The police are there to keep the rabble in line and protect private property.’
      • ‘Listen we need more guards to keep this base safe and to keep the civilians in line.’
      • ‘There are no secrets in a small village, and gossip is a potent weapon to keep people in line.’
      • ‘It is possible that cosmetic concessions such as these will be enough to persuade potential rebel MPs to stay in line.’
      • ‘When I was younger, I was arrogant, as a lot of people are at that age, but that's how George and Gary kept me in line.’
      under control, in order, in check, obedient, conforming with the rules
      View synonyms
    • 2In a queue.

      ‘we stood in line at the counter’
      • ‘We waited in line for an hour, which was fine, the weather was amazingly sunny and warm.’
      • ‘The teller got up from behind his desk, and went over to one of the children waiting in line.’
      • ‘Standing in line to order a cup of coffee to battle the cold, I fidgeted with my wallet.’
      • ‘Even before the polling stations opened, the voters were standing in line.’
      • ‘Some Floridians were still waiting in line to vote almost five hours after the polls were set to close.’
      • ‘I get upset because I have to wait in line too long at the supermarket.’
      • ‘Hundreds waited in line, even in the day's wretched weather, to try and register their willingness to help.’
      • ‘The staff will give you a number and customers are required to wait in line.’
      • ‘The person in line ahead of me had 13 items in the 10-or-less lane.’
      • ‘Waiting in line, I realised that pretty much everyone else getting on the train was also going to the convention.’
      in a queue, in a row, in a column, in a file
      View synonyms
  • in line for

    • Likely to receive.

      ‘the club are in line for a windfall of three hundred thousand pounds’
      • ‘According to legal experts, he could be in line for compensation running into millions of pounds.’
      • ‘Olympic boxing silver medallist Amir Khan is in line for yet another high profile award.’
      • ‘Britain also looks in line for a further interest rate cut this summer.’
      • ‘Two big names in music may be in line for the most prestigious prize on the planet.’
      • ‘Only I don't think I'll be in line for the sort of settlement she's likely to receive.’
      • ‘Aussie Kris Tassell, who has been chased by Welsh Rugby Union clubs, is also in line for a new contract.’
      • ‘Two Manchester restaurants have made such a success of catering for veggies that they are in line for top national awards.’
      • ‘If Turin's theory is true, and Burr believes it is, Turin could be in line for the Nobel Prize.’
      • ‘Thousands of BOI customers are expected to be in line for a refund of charges as a result of the case.’
      • ‘Sheffield's rundown riverside area will be in line for a facelift if plans to revamp it are approved.’
      a candidate for, in the running for, on the shortlist for, shortlisted for, being considered for, under consideration for, next in succession for, likely to receive, up for, ready for
      View synonyms
  • in the line of duty

    • While one is working (used mainly of police officers or soldiers)

      ‘an inspector's funeral is given only for those killed in the line of duty’
      • ‘The number of journalists killed in the line of duty rose to its highest level in nearly a decade last year.’
      • ‘We will not stop searching until we have accounted for every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine missing in the line of duty.’
      • ‘Servicemen and women disabled in the line of duty trust the government will provide for them.’
      • ‘Just four years before, Connor's dad had been killed in the line of duty.’
      • ‘It has provided more than $15 million to families of military personnel lost in the line of duty.’
      • ‘The organisation helps firefighters and their families who have been injured or killed in the line of duty.’
      • ‘In the United States, in the last three months, we've lost about 56 police officers in the line of duty.’
      • ‘The Minister said 241 police officers had died in the line of duty over the last 141 years.’
      • ‘He called on the government to review its provision of payments for soldiers injured or killed in the line of duty to prevent the need to buy private insurance.’
      • ‘It was a very emotional time for me as it was for a lot of people in the Gardaí. Two of our members had been shot dead in the line of duty.’
  • in (or out of) line with

    • In (or not in) alignment or accordance with.

      ‘remuneration is in line with comparable international organizations’
      • ‘It is boosting production of its malaria drug in line with sharply increased demand.’
      • ‘These prices are totally out of line with current market values.’
      • ‘This has been our policy for some time and is in line with most other train companies' policies.’
      • ‘The new signing and selling system was introduced to bring English football into line with the rest of Europe.’
      • ‘This would bring the law in line with that on offensive weapons such as knives.’
      • ‘They say this figure is out of line with what is being charged in other local authority areas.’
      • ‘Victims believe the severity of punishment is often out of line with the ‘crime’ committed - and in many cases, firms are quick to act without full knowledge or investigation.’
      • ‘King said taking the extra volume of traffic and people celebrating over this weekend into account, the number of drink driving arrests wasn't out of line with their statistics.’
      • ‘Nevertheless Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, said the sentence was out of line with those given in other similar cases and must be regarded as ‘excessive’.’
      • ‘The Treasury review underlines that the British economy is seriously out of line with continental economies, with Britain's recovery years more advanced.’
  • lay (or put) it on the line

    • Speak frankly.

      ‘I'm going to have to lay it on the line, tell them what really has been happening’
      • ‘People who can't take a hint are people who can't take a hint - so I advise you to lay it on the line.’
      • ‘If the cancer had been discovered when I was married and had kids, then the surgeon would have laid it on the line, giving me time to make the sort of arrangements one would have to make in those circumstances.’
      • ‘However, rather than giving some lame excuse for his non-participation, he's decided to lay it on the line.’
      • ‘You have to pick the right time to make a stand and to lay it on the line and tell a player or a team that their performance is unacceptable.’
      • ‘Anderson has laid it on the line to his players - if their performance isn't acceptable, they're out.’
      • ‘I love guys that lay it on the line and say what they have to say and don't mince words.’
      • ‘But Sundin's teammates credit him with turning the season around by holding a team meeting in which the soft-spoken captain laid it on the line.’
      • ‘We laid it on the line to the players just what our expectations were, and offered to release anyone from their contracts who didn't buy into our vision.’
      • ‘During his appearance on David Letterman's show, the CBS news anchor laid it on the line.’
      • ‘The chairman of the England Cricket Board laid it on the line today saying: ‘This has been a disaster for cricket.’’
      speak frankly, be direct, speak honestly, pull no punches, be blunt, not mince one's words, call a spade a spade
      View synonyms
  • line in the sand

    • A point beyond which one will not go; a limit to what one will do or accept.

      ‘the banks drew a line in the sand: there was to be no additional help’
      • ‘In what was seen by many activists as a line in the sand, the party's national assembly came out strongly against leadership plans to ditch its traditional opposition to Nato.’
      • ‘I believe that everyone must be prepared to forget any past baggage - draw a line in the sand and move forward in confidence together.’
      • ‘We need to draw a line in the sand to maintain our voting rights.’
      • ‘Effectively they had drawn a line in the sand and told us that the overdraft facilities they had given us were on no account to be exceeded.’
      • ‘In effect, the government of B.C. has used the referendum to draw a line in the sand.’
      • ‘Never mind that few of them have ever ridden a horse or even seen a hunt, let alone participated in one: this is an issue which stands for other, more important, issues; it is a line in the sand.’
      • ‘And he is adamant that the GAA, if it is to prosper, has to become semi-professional, although he would draw a line in the sand well before it could reach all-out professionalism.’
      • ‘There is always a time in every country's history where it needs to draw a line in the sand and take tougher measures even if that means taking a big economic risk.’
      • ‘Today, my Government is drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough.’
      • ‘As was clear then and since, this wasn't the most propitious moment to draw a line in the sand - neither Britain or France were in a position to actually defend Poland.’
  • line abreast

    • A formation in which a number of ships travel side by side.

      • ‘I cross-checked my formation… I'm out of position, aft of line abreast.’
      • ‘He looked out his bubble window and saw a mixed gaggle of Fw 190s and Me 109s closing head-on in line abreast.’
      • ‘Marching in precision the Thunderbolts spread out line abreast, gun switches and guns sights on, propeller pitch increased for more power.’
      • ‘About 12.30 pm, during the general mêlée, three aircraft came at our starboard side, more or less in line abreast.’
      • ‘After the other escort aircraft landed, all aircraft taxied to the dais, parked line abreast, and carried out a formation shutdown.’
  • line ahead

    • A formation in which a number of ships follow one another in a line.

      • ‘In battle, the contending fleets sailed in line ahead, one ship following another, to bring the largest number of guns to bear on the enemy.’
      • ‘Squadron upon squadron rise to a great height, break into line ahead and there, the first machines hurtle perpendicularly down, followed by the second, third - ten, twelve aeroplanes are there.’
  • line astern

    • A formation in which a number of aircraft or ships follow one another in a line.

      • ‘The reason the four cars at the finish were line astern was because they couldn't pass each other!’
      • ‘Then the CO gave us the order to go line astern - one-two-three.’
      • ‘We rushed out into the back yard and there, sure enough, was little brown hen, strutting proudly across the sun-baked earth, followed by twelve tiny fluffy yellow chickens in line astern.’
      • ‘They stay in line astern formation and head for the Discovery, followed closely by the rest of the Eagles and the eight Bright Stars ships.’
      • ‘We saw their vapor trails very high and almost overhead as they went into line astern, rolled over and started down right on top of us.’
      • ‘By this stage the safety car was out and we witnessed two Ferrari's in the pits, line astern, while agitated mechanics tried to get 8 wet weather wheels ready for their cars.’
  • line of communications

    • A means of connection between an army in the field and its bases.

      • ‘Predominantly her aircraft were used on strikes against enemy lines of communications, troop concentrations and industrial infrastructure.’
      • ‘Once the forces of law and order have established control over an entire area or most of an area, the insurgents shift to guerrilla warfare, ambushing lines of communications, and attacking small garrisons.’
      • ‘The flight was made with the primary purpose of attempting to locate a large Mexican troop force, reported to have been moving southeast toward the US Army's line of communications.’
      • ‘Finally, from the rear of the army back to the base of operations was the indispensable line of communications, along which supplies and reinforcements would flow.’
      • ‘By the autumn of 1941, the plight of Malta, lying astride Rommel's line of communications, and the only British outpost remaining in the central Mediterranean, was becoming desperate.’
      • ‘It was a friendly and open exchange, and we're committed to keeping the lines of communications open.’
      • ‘Restrictive terrain may further affect lines of communications.’
      • ‘French informed Joffre, the French C-in-C, that a move to the north-west flank would shorten the BEF's line of communications and in early October the BEF left the Aisne for Flanders.’
      • ‘On 7 March, Van Dorn completely outflanked Curtis's army and attacked in two columns, cutting the Federal line of communications.’
      • ‘The Romans had great difficulty in maintaining power in all of their empire and supplying their army was a major problem as their lines of communications were stretched to the limit.’
  • line of credit

    • An amount of credit extended to a borrower.

      • ‘When mortgage rates were at rock bottom in the 1990s, many homeowners took out home equity loans and lines of credit to consolidate their debts.’
      • ‘In recent years, many homeowners have used home equity lines of credit to pay off credit cards, make home improvements or pay college tuition.’
      • ‘Loans, lines of credit, and credit cards - like play money - give us the illusion that we have money when we don't, and debt becomes a way of living.’
      • ‘Credit issuers will provide households with lines of credit for thousands of dollars-often based on limited information about the consumer and their credit status.’
      • ‘In the age of brokerage accounts, credit cards, home equity loans, lines of credit and mutual funds, bank deposits are virtually useless as an indicator of available buying power.’
      • ‘Consumers who are juggling mortgage rates, lines of credit, car and boat loans will be watching with interest this week as the Bank of Canada considers raising borrowing costs.’
      • ‘But customers can now access information about their lines of credit directly over the Internet.’
      • ‘Eliminate as much debt as possible, especially ‘variable rate’ debt, such as credit cards and lines of credit.’
      • ‘However, the addition of a new line of credit could also hurt your credit score.’
      • ‘Upon reading my business plan, my bank went on to extend my business a $25,000 unsecured line of credit.’
  • line of fire

    • The expected path of gunfire or a missile.

      ‘residents within line of fire were evacuated from their homes’
      • ‘A brave Russian soldier threw himself at the czar, pushed him out of the line of fire, and thereby saved his life.’
      • ‘Finally out of the enemy's direct line of fire, David took a close look at the opposition's positions.’
      • ‘Instead a public servant has been sent into the line of fire as a fall-guy, a scapegoat, to take the heat.’
      • ‘A burst of fire came through the doorway, but I held my position around the corner, out of the line of fire.’
      • ‘He saw Jim try to move out of the line of fire, but it was too late.’
      • ‘She tried to edge backwards and out of the line of fire.’
      • ‘Fox stepped forwards, but still managed to keep out of the line of fire.’
      • ‘One of my sergeants was killed trying to get a batch of children out of the line of fire in some little town I never knew the name of.’
      • ‘Sixteen residents have been put up in temporary accommodation and 43 are trapped in their homes because they are in the gunman's line of fire.’
      • ‘And chief executives are not the only ones in the line of fire.’
  • line of flight

    • A route taken through the air.

      • ‘They allowed Rob to line up directly with their line of flight before he turned on his landing lights.’
      • ‘During flight, the base of the projectile is blown off and centrifugal force disperses the grenades radially from the projectile line of flight.’
      • ‘A friend told me recently that the best way to miss a tiny object in your line of flight is to aim right at it.’
      • ‘The ball has a principal axis of rotation parallel to the clubface and perpendicular to the line of flight.’
  • line of force

    • An imaginary line which represents the strength and direction of a magnetic, gravitational, or electric field at any point.

      • ‘The gauss or flux density is the line of force per unit area of the pole.’
      • ‘Io's orbit cuts across Jupiter's powerful magnetic lines of force, turning Io into a giant electricity generator.’
      • ‘One of Maxwell's most important achievements was his extension and mathematical formulation of Michael Faraday's theories of electricity and magnetic lines of force.’
      • ‘So, scientists agreed that to keep everyone talking about the same thing, that magnetic lines of force should travel from North to South.’
      • ‘W Thomson was the first who tried to treat mathematically Faraday's conception of lines of force.’
      • ‘Planets then circle the Sun, not because they are held by invisible lines of force, as Newton had us think, but because they are simply caught in the natural hollow carved out by the star.’
      • ‘As it is, auroras on Earth follow magnetic lines of force that converge at the north and south magnetic poles.’
      • ‘The magnetic fields are a bit like rubber bands, consisting of continuous loops of lines of force that have both tension and pressure.’
      • ‘Faraday, however, introduced the notion of a field - an invisible web of lines of force radiating from an electric charge or a magnet.’
  • the line of least resistance

  • line of march

    • The route taken in marching.

      • ‘In the initial period of war, they were infrequently committed to combat right from the line of march to carry out spoiling attacks, but more often than not, they went over to the defensive.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, the sheer numbers of wild animals encountered almost everywhere in the West during the 1860s and 1870s made it possible for soldiers to kill game almost without leaving the line of march.’
      • ‘The advance from popular to revolutionary consciousness is not a straight, unbroken line of march.’
      • ‘He was able to obtain water and camp a short distance off the line of march because he knew the rockholes and soakages of the country.’
      • ‘The mode presenting the greatest risk to life is truck transport because its manned systems are restricted to moving along linear lines of march.’
      • ‘On 31 August he was promoted général de brigade and given a division: his general's stars were taken from an old tunic found in a house on the line of march.’
      • ‘Scout units reporting to lieutenant Clark patrolled the line of march.’
      • ‘Some guerrillas picked at the edges of his camps and line of march, but did not weaken him appreciably.’
      • ‘Taking a few of his men and volunteers and horses from another camp that had not been sacked, he anticipated the Indians' line of march and did retrieve a few animals.’
      • ‘Early in the afternoon a herd of about 60 camels arrived, and caused some anxiety to those having horses in or near the line of march.’
  • line of sight

    • A straight line along which an observer has unobstructed vision.

      ‘a building which obstructs our line of sight’
      • ‘When you live in New York, you normally don't get to see the sunset - because the huge buildings block all possible lines of sight.’
      • ‘Major objects or images are located along critical lines of sight to reinforce the main messages of the exhibition and to surprise visitors with something unexpected, thus challenging their preconceptions about Africa.’
      • ‘The outer edge of the garden has a bamboo hedge with colourful shrubs and plants and is high enough to block out lines of sight.’
      • ‘Targets were generally always within the line of sight of the artillery men.’
      • ‘Purpose-built to enhance live music, the space boasts a good sized stage, a top class PA and lighting system plus great lines of sight, providing an immaculate view of the stage.’
      • ‘It will be possible to put the at-a-glance guide on the dashboard or windscreen in the driver's line of sight.’
      • ‘She said the tips of the rotating blades of the 320 ft tall turbines would be between 32 ft and 82 ft below the line of sight of the radar at Yeadon, north of Leeds.’
      • ‘These elliptical steel walls prevent direct lines of sight from those screening areas to the office space.’
      • ‘The venue was small and the standing room layered quite steeply so it was easy to get a good line of sight.’
      • ‘The range of conventional radar, the kind you see at airports with its rotating dish, is limited to direct line of sight.’
  • line of vision

    • The straight line along which an observer looks.

      ‘Jimmy moved forward into Len's line of vision’
      • ‘Realizing he did not have Inge's attention, he followed her line of vision.’
      • ‘The best thing to do is to test a patch on part of the wall that is out of the usual line of vision, for example, behind a piece of furniture or near the skirting in an alcove or corner.’
      • ‘Mr Smyth says that as you approach the roundabouts in a busy line of traffic, the large road signs which have been erected can block your line of vision.’
      • ‘The man keeps smiling at me and I avert my eyes but somehow he is able to manoeuvre himself around so he's constantly in my line of vision.’
      • ‘I awoke with a headache; the sun glinted straight into my line of vision from a gap in the curtains.’
      • ‘Mikhail, standing slightly out of his friend's line of vision, rolled his eyes.’
      • ‘Brett followed her line of vision and smiled when he saw the kitten.’
      • ‘But one lady remained standing by the door, talking to someone just out of Mariana's line of vision.’
      • ‘Emerging from the hallway, viewers found a tiny, ramshackle wooden cabin directly in their line of vision.’
      • ‘The L-shape design does at times obstruct the bartender's line of vision.’
  • on the line

    • 1At serious risk.

      ‘their careers were on the line’
      • ‘Our law enforcement personnel put their lives on the line when they go after these criminals.’
      • ‘Dr Williams' decision to call the crisis meeting places his authority on the line as never before.’
      • ‘People's jobs are on the line - not just the players but those of the backroom and office staff at the club.’
      • ‘Indeed, if things do not improve, his will not be the only neck on the line.’
      • ‘Of course the men and women in the military put their lives on the line for our country.’
      • ‘We have put our careers on the line in order to reveal the facts to the public.’
      • ‘He put his job on the line to protect us, and would even risk his life for us.’
      • ‘His job as Great Britain coach must be on the line if he fails to beat world champions Australia.’
      • ‘He believed in me so much that he put everything on the line to make his little sister a star.’
      • ‘Not for the first time in the last week their safety was on the line but Michael didn't seem the slightest bit bothered.’
      at risk, in danger, endangered, imperilled
      View synonyms
    • 2(of a picture in an exhibition) hung with its centre about level with the spectator's eye.

  • out of line

    • informal Behaving in a way that breaks the rules or is considered inappropriate.

      ‘he had never stepped out of line with her before’
      • ‘As a player, I was never scared of telling people if they had stepped out of line and I'm no different as a manager.’
      • ‘I AM not a believer in hitting players with hefty punishments any time they step out of line.’
      • ‘If he takes one step out of line during the two years after his release, he can be recalled to prison.’
      • ‘I was way out of line, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart.’
      • ‘But I think there are possible alternatives to censuring and rebuking those who step out of line.’
      • ‘If you break rules, if you step out of line, then obviously you face the consequences.’
      • ‘I was boiling with anger and shouted that his behaviour was way out of line.’
      • ‘Players are so in fear of stepping out of line off the pitch they are far from relaxed by the time they step onto it.’
      • ‘I got into an argument with the instructor, who gave me detention for speaking out of line.’
      • ‘I am sick of being too scared to say what I think, or to tell people when they are out of line.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • line out

    • Be caught out after hitting a line drive.

      • ‘Tony Taylor lined out to center to end the game and, as it turned out, the last hurrah of those Tigers who had played together since the mid-1960s.’
      • ‘Showalter's move paid off as the next Giants batter, Brent Mayne, lined out to right field to end the contest’
      • ‘The next batter, Brent Mayne, lined out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.’
      • ‘‘I lined out to left field in a pinch-hitting situation,’ Ray said.’
      • ‘The game ended after Gil Hodges lined out to right field and the A.L. won the game, 6-5.’
  • line something out

    • Transplant seedlings from beds into nursery lines, where they are grown before being moved to their permanent position.

      • ‘He starts with rooted cuttings and lines them out in the field about 30' apart.’
      • ‘Once transferred to individual pots, they can be put back in the cold frame or kept in the greenhouse until danger of frost is past when you can line them out in a protected place.’
  • line someone/something up

    • 1Arrange a number of people or things in a straight row.

      ‘they lined them up and shot them’
      • ‘The troops were lined up above the water-tanks on the beach.’
      • ‘I looked at the house across the street and saw that three cars were lined up in front of it, as if in a funeral procession.’
      • ‘At the school, boys and girls were lined up in their Friday best to present Greg with wreaths of paper flowers.’
      • ‘On the other side of the motorway about 65 cars and 12 motorbikes were lined up for the anti-speed camera demo.’
      • ‘Musical instruments were lined up along the way leading to the newly built auditorium.’
      • ‘At nearby Sardjito Hospital, bodies were lined up in the hallway and some family members were taking them home before they could be added to the official toll.’
      • ‘A group of men were lined up against a wall and mugged as they walked along Dukes Avenue last Friday at about 11.30 pm.’
      • ‘Double-decker buses were lined up outside the gates.’
      • ‘We walked down the sleepy rural streets to the bay where all the oyster boats were lined up.’
      • ‘A few other tables were lined up in a perfectly straight row across the room.’
      • ‘The Primary school kids were all lined up in front of the pews when I arrived.’
      • ‘Then paratroopers came in and took everybody out of the house and lined them up against the wall.’
      • ‘The teachers were well organised - they lined the pupils up and led them down the stairs.’
      • ‘I had just labeled all the boxes and lined them up on the floor when I heard the front door open.’
      arrange in a line, arrange in lines, put in rows, arrange in columns
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of a number of people or things) stand or be arranged in a straight row.
        ‘we would line up across the parade ground, shoulder to shoulder’
        • ‘Talented drivers between the age of 16 and 23 will line up on the starting grid.’
        • ‘Developers are lining up to convert former mills into luxury apartments or build new ones on brownfield sites.’
        • ‘People lined up around the block in pouring rain for tickets.’
        • ‘A queue of about 150 people were lining up to get into a nondescript-looking door.’
        • ‘Before we knew it, the players were lining up to take penalty kicks at the goal in the hope of eliminating their opponents.’
        • ‘Major corporations including Lloyds TSB and Motorola are lining up for a slice of the action.’
        • ‘Were you nervous when you lined up on the grid?’
        • ‘One thing is for sure if Keane wants to continue on playing there will be no shortage of clubs lining up to sign him.’
        form a queue, form a line, form lines, get into columns, get into rows, file, queue up, group together, fall in, straighten up
        View synonyms
    • 2Have someone or something ready or prepared.

      ‘have you got any work lined up?’
      • ‘The Australian has been offered a five-year contract to take over coaching duties, but two other highly rated personnel have been lined up in case he turns it down.’
      • ‘Having a training plan lined up for new employees keeps them involved in their own learning process.’
      • ‘About 11 interactive games and events were lined up for the teachers.’
      • ‘The Flag pub in Bridge Street is lining up some of the area's finest bands to raise cash for the tsunami appeal.’
      • ‘A troupe of street performers were lined up to provide pre-show atmosphere at Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.’
      • ‘A total of nine key speakers have been lined up to speak, including the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment.’
      • ‘A host of speakers have been lined up for the forum, which will take place at Bradford City's Bradford & Bingley Stadium, and there will also be themed workshops.’
      • ‘Conferences were held, donors were lined up, and money pledged towards the reconstruction effort.’
      • ‘He had a summer job lined up for the following year and the promise of a full-time position when he graduated.’
      • ‘Besides the new report, apparently around a hundred witnesses have been lined up to give evidence.’
      • ‘Irish investors will be lined up to buy hotel developments that Fitzpatrick will then manage.’
      assemble, get together, organize, prepare, arrange, lay on
      View synonyms

Origin

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.

Pronunciation

line

/lʌɪn/

Main definitions of line in English

: line1line2

line2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Cover the inside surface of (a container or garment) with a layer of different material.

    ‘a basket lined with polythene’
    • ‘When truly hot, add the butter and oil and swirl around to line the dish or pan.’
    • ‘Her bags are also lined with a brightly colored fabric allowing the contents to stand out against the lining.’
    • ‘Inside, the drawer was lined with dusty pink lining paper.’
    • ‘Aluminum is said to be acceptable if the inside of the bottle is lined.’
    • ‘Dump the whole thing in a 28 cm pie dish and press/pack the dough with your fingers so it lines the whole dish.’
    • ‘The octagonal spire is lined with pine panelling, which is also seen in the kitchen/dining area leading off the living room.’
    • ‘While you work, pack perishables in an insulated cooler or a container lined with ice packs.’
    • ‘The phone pockets are lined with a special material, which tailors say will prevent radiation from phones reaching the skin.’
    • ‘It is for this reason that jewellery boxes are invariably lined inside with a soft material that cushions the ornament.’
    • ‘Magpie nests are usually high in trees, bulky structures of sticks lined with grass.’
    • ‘The bottom of the basket was lined with greaseproof paper.’
    • ‘The inside was lined with red velvet and something that looked like saran wrap.’
    • ‘The box is lined with thick foam rubber that protects the heavy contents against bumps and shocks better than foam plastic would do.’
    • ‘Inside each cabin, opaque walls are lined with soft suede-like material.’
    • ‘The inside of the box was lined with burgundy velvet.’
    • ‘The neck of the dress was lined with little purple beads that she had sewn on herself.’
    • ‘The nest is lined with fine, soft materials including animal hair and lichen.’
    • ‘The bottom of the dress was lined with pink material, and her shoes were pink with purple rhinestones.’
    • ‘Inside the bag is lined with black crepe de chine with magenta polka dots.’
    • ‘Lightly oil a 12-hole muffin tray then line each mould with a bacon rasher.’
    covered, backed, interlined
    cover, put a lining in, back, put a backing on, interline, face, panel, inlay, reinforce, encase
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Form a layer on the inside surface of (an area); cover as if with a lining.
      ‘hundreds of telegrams lined the walls’
      • ‘It strikes the synovium, the thin layer of tissue lining the area of a joint where two bones meet.’
      • ‘Flowers covered the whole chapel and pictures of him lined the room.’
      • ‘The cells line an area of human lungs that helps our bodies absorb oxygen and shed carbon dioxide.’
      • ‘There are so many records and CDs lining the living room walls that it looks as if they are embedded into the foundations.’
      • ‘All vessels are lined with a single layer of flattened cells called the endothelium.’
      • ‘The venous sinuses are lined not by endothelium but by specialized reticular cells, which are fixed macrophages.’
      • ‘Studies have shown that gut cancers are not purely genetic and can be modified by diet as the walls of the gut are lined with a layer of cells called the epithelium.’
      • ‘The thyroid and epiglottis are connected by ligaments and membranes and lined on the inner aspect by respiratory mucosa and muscles.’
      • ‘There is no clear theme, but enlarged historical photos of the area line the upper walls.’
      • ‘The thin bones within the nasal cavity are lined with a membrane containing a very rich supply of blood vessels.’
      • ‘Allergies and colds can cause the membrane that lines your middle ear to become inflamed and overproduce mucus.’
      • ‘When Corrigan opened the large French doors there was a large patio area with hundreds of swords lining the walls.’
      cover, put a lining in, back, put a backing on, interline, face, panel, inlay, reinforce, encase
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • line one's pocket

    • informal Make money, especially by dishonest means.

      ‘he had lined his pockets with office and campaign funds’
      • ‘He is as guilty as other DJ's of using his privileged position to promote acts that will line his pocket.’
      • ‘Should a cop convicted of abusing his post, failing to protect those who he is sworn to protect, and lining his pocket with money stolen while on the job be deserving of a pension?’
      • ‘No, he's lining his pocket with contributions from commercial logging interests.’
      • ‘The Strokes understand this, and it's very refreshing that there is a band out there not interested in lining their pocket but instead just releasing good music.’
      • ‘He would not give me a pay rise despite the audiences flocking to see me and lining his pocket.’
      • ‘If he cares more about your training than lining his pocket, then in my opinion that's a sign of a good teacher.’
      • ‘I want to provide a public service, not line the pockets of shareholders.’
      • ‘Elliot can afford to look the other way because he is lining his pocket every time someone is cheated.’
      • ‘Examples such as these undermine the confidence of the public in these public/private arrangements and make them suspicious that someone is lining his pocket at the expense of taxpayers.’
      • ‘Swear to God, and bet on it - he is somehow lining his pocket over this deal.’
      make money
      View synonyms
  • line one's stomach

    • informal Eat some food in preparation for a drinking session.

      ‘it's always best to line the stomach before a night out’
      • ‘All this and a selection of tasty tapas dishes to line your stomach with early on.’
      • ‘Cox had said in advance that we should go down the pub, so I resolved to line my stomach.’
      • ‘Salads tend to be fairly predictable but this one really tickled the tastebuds as well as lining the stomach.’
      • ‘Watson's colleague passed up a glass of champagne, the customary welcome at the Scottish Politician of the Year awards, saying he wanted some food to line his stomach first.’
      • ‘I have a yoghurt at the start of the meal to line my stomach.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from obsolete line ‘flax’, with reference to the common use of linen for linings.

Pronunciation

line

/lʌɪn/