Main definitions of line in English

: line1line2



  • 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’
    • ‘I arrived there late in the evening just as the smoke from the village fires was forming a perfect horizontal line above the fields.’
    • ‘The cars thinned out, leaving only white lines marking vacant spaces.’
    • ‘On the wall were eight strange symbols, all arranged in a circle, with lines connecting them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Double yellow lines indicate parking is restricted at all times, while single lines apply only at times indicated.’
    • ‘The red line drawn on the ground in the Mitte District marks where the wall stood.’
    • ‘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 also crossed no overtaking lines near a railway crossing and went through a red light.’
    • ‘Put your measuring tape on the floor, mark a line at 15 in then mark a line at 40 in.’
    • ‘I huddled close to Mark, seeing the line of orange light on the carpet where the thick curtains didn't meet properly.’
    • ‘In most cases, the beaded patterns of these skirts consist of vertical or broken lines arranged in parallel rows.’
    • ‘Lowering his quill once more, the ink trailed in a continuous line, curving and twisting on the paper.’
    • ‘He paused, his brows furrowing and his lips going into a thin line before he spoke again.’
    • ‘She released him and he rubbed his arm, five lines of blood appearing where her nails had been.’
    • ‘Go is played on a board divided into a grid constructed by 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines.’
    • ‘Working quickly, drizzle chocolate in a thin stream over the biscuits to form a series of fine striped lines on top of each one.’
    • ‘Below me, the wind has whipped the water into a series of white parallel lines as it roars in towards the mainland.’
    • ‘Also strange, wavy lines called shadow bands can be seen on the Earth's surface.’
    • ‘Black and colored lines delineated triangular planes of color that made up a succession of cubistic forms.’
    dash, rule, bar, score
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Mathematics A straight or curved continuous extent of length without breadth.
      • ‘Mathematically this means that the Greeks needed to construct a line of length equal to the cube-root of 2.’
      • ‘This work attempted to solve the problem of constructing a line of the same length as an arc of a circle.’
      • ‘So the length of the circumference of the circle is expressed in terms of the lengths of straight lines.’
      • ‘Mill takes lines without breadth and points without length to be limit concepts.’
      • ‘In the latter work al-Tusi discussed objections raised by earlier mathematicians to comparing lengths of straight lines and of curved lines.’
    2. 1.2A positioning or movement of a thing or things that creates or appears to follow a line.
      ‘her mouth set in an angry line’
      ‘the ball rose in a straight line’
      • ‘A properly set alignment must always be in a direct line with the intended target.’
      • ‘If everyone just took off and went in a direct line to the destination, there would be utter chaos.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      course, route, track, channel, path, way, run
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    3. 1.3A furrow or wrinkle in the skin of the face or hands.
      • ‘The oxygen and nutrient deficiencies caused by too much smoking result in premature lines on the skin and a loss of natural elasticity.’
      • ‘The effects on wrinkles such as the frown line, forehead creases and crow's feet last for four to six months.’
      • ‘Skin damage, including lines and wrinkles, can actually start showing up in your 20s.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The topical application of specific peptides helps soften lines and wrinkles around your mouth, eyes and forehead.’
      • ‘She smiles and even giggles constantly, and her otherwise flawless creamy complexion is delicately etched with laughter lines.’
      • ‘She was quite old, judging by the wrinkles and lines on her face and the gray in her hair.’
      • ‘However, the flower's oil contains a unique ingredient which can reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face by up to 30%.’
      • ‘We use lasers to treat blemishes, thread veins, remove tattoos, and carry out skin resurfacing to remove lines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although the effects of laser resurfacing can last for years, wrinkles and expression lines recur as skin ages.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Inherited patterns of ageing begin to show in our thirties and fine lines and wrinkles may start to appear.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The camera focuses on the wrinkled laughter lines around the man's eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dehydration leads to dry skin, lines and premature ageing.’
      • ‘His hair is graying already, he has grey stubble on his chin, wrinkles, laugh lines, and crows feet.’
      • ‘Proteins help strengthen and increase the thickness of the skin, making it less prone to fine lines and wrinkles.’
      wrinkle, furrow, crease, crinkle, crow's foot, groove, corrugation
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    4. 1.4A contour or outline considered as a feature of design or composition.
      ‘crisp architectural lines’
      ‘the artist's use of clean line and color’
      • ‘Her designs have elegant lines and show a strong contrast of materials, for example, the combination of leather and lace.’
      • ‘We set off eastwards along the valley following the line of the mountains.’
      • ‘Evergreen plants have been used for centuries to mark out the lines of a garden.’
      • ‘This urban contemporary collection keeps things in perspective with simple forms, clean lines and subtle shapes.’
      • ‘His face was elegant, the graceful lines of his features nearly too perfect.’
      • ‘A BMW's design is classic and timeless, with clean, sleek lines and distinct details.’
      • ‘The magnificent master bedroom is elegantly curved in shape, has clean sweeping lines and luxurious en-suite facilities.’
      • ‘I also discovered the Cinema Impero with its clean, geometric lines and porthole windows.’
      • ‘The house was built in 1925, and it is part Mediterranean villa, part palazzo, with modern lines and open spaces.’
      • ‘Cattrell wants us to feel the landscape: its surreal contours, unnatural lines and hidden secrets.’
      • ‘Simple lines and soft tones combine to produce a minimalist decor which doesn't suffer from coldness or lack of personality.’
      • ‘The lines are crisp; colors are bold and vibrant without being oversaturated.’
      • ‘Natural, free-flowing lines and materials showing strength and force characterize Chen's work.’
      • ‘Classics are styles that have been popular for years because of their clean lines and utilitarian features.’
      • ‘Only the clean lines of the stage design serve to evoke the starkness of the northern landscape.’
      • ‘A white china sink and ceramic hob complement the crisp clean lines.’
      • ‘Her rings, necklaces and cufflinks combine clean, modern lines with an array of glowing colours.’
      • ‘The brilliant color and vivid lines of the work of Avi Ben-Simhon evoke a feeling of joy and happiness.’
      • ‘Smooth sensual lines and bold designs feature in a combination of glazed and matt finishes for a stylish contemporary result.’
      • ‘The crisp lines and stylish designs of a Brooks Brothers suit are always totally appropriate for the times.’
      • ‘Its chunky industrial design is in sharp contrast to the bike's clean lines.’
      • ‘The clean lines and the simple shapes are compelling in their quiet beauty and grace.’
      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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    6. 1.6A line marking the starting or finishing point in a race.
      • ‘In the Pirelli Trophy, Michael Cullen finished second, crossing the line ahead of Paddy Shovlin.’
      • ‘It was great to see so many young athletes on the starting line for every race.’
      • ‘Keelboats will have a separate start line in the deeper water, according to the organisers.’
      • ‘He flew of out of the blocks with a reaction time of 0.104 of a second to cross the line ahead of Chambers.’
      • ‘Earlier, Goodison had failed to go back after being over the start line when racing belatedly began an hour late.’
      • ‘In fleet racing, the dominant type at the Olympics, the first to cross the line wins the race.’
    7. 1.7A line marked on a field or court that relates to the rules of a game or sport.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The home favourite served for the match and closed it out on a second match point with a backhand down the line.’
      • ‘The shot in the first half might have been over the line, although TV pictures seemed to suggest otherwise.’
      • ‘The ball was hacked clear and after some indecision in the home rearguard Enda Muldoon raced over the try line.’
      • ‘He was held up five metres from the line and might have scored had he not changed direction at the last moment.’
      • ‘The backs set up a strong attacking position and the forwards forced the ball over the line from close range.’
      • ‘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.’
    8. 1.8American Football The line of scrimmage.
    9. 1.9The equator.
    10. 1.10A notional limit or boundary.
      ‘the issue of peace cut across class lines’
      ‘television blurs the line between news and entertainment’
      • ‘In the sponsorship of the arts there is a fine line between class and crass.’
      • ‘In southern Louisiana, a fierce love of place cuts across lines of class and religion.’
      • ‘The company insist that their experiments are not in any way intended to blur the lines between human and animal.’
      • ‘The acts are intended to blur the lines between the audience and the performers.’
      • ‘The line between television drama and film is blurred even more here.’
      • ‘What was probably intended as tragedy, came across as cheap exploitative television, blurring the lines between fiction and fact.’
      • ‘Experienced editors can tell when a reporter crosses the line and becomes an advocate.’
      • ‘Support of educational reform, or any sort of reform, must cut across party, political and class lines.’
      • ‘Supporters are divided along political lines, even within single clubs.’
      • ‘A number of audience members are seated at tables on stage further blurring the lines between the performers and the audience.’
      • ‘There are growing divisions along racial, religious and class lines.’
      • ‘Of course the line between research and its implementation is a fine one.’
      • ‘The major policy issues of any modem presidency cut across all those old boundary lines.’
      • ‘We have all been guilty of it: blurring the lines between reality and fiction.’
      • ‘He has blurred the thin line that separates an actor from a director/writer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A lot has been made over the last couple of years of the lines being blurred between news and entertainment.’
      • ‘It has sparked debate in the US over whether the highly patriotic tone crossed the line into jingoism.’
      • ‘Mr Owen applied for planning permission to erect a wooden fence and a shed on the boundary line.’
      • ‘The communications revolution has blurred traditional class lines.’
      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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    11. 1.11Each 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.’
    12. 1.12Physics A narrow range of the spectrum 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.’
      • ‘Each of the lines in a spectral series corresponds to a characteristic frequency or wavelength.’
      • ‘They proposed the name of rubidium for the element because of the dark red color of the most prominent of its spectral lines.’
      • ‘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.’
    13. 1.13The level of the base of most letters, such as h and x, in printing and writing.
    14. 1.14Printing Computing [as modifier]Denoting an illustration or graphic consisting of lines and solid areas, with no gradation of tone.
      ‘a line block’
      ‘line art’
      • ‘You may have noticed I've been switching around the line art images at the top of the page.’
      • ‘The line art is black on a red background, which is a poor way to view line art.’
      • ‘This is the first stage of my cover artwork idea - black and white line art.’
      • ‘It supports a huge variety of line styles so you can create complex illustrations.’
    15. 1.15Each of (usually five) horizontal lines forming a staff in musical notation.
      • ‘The traditional notation system of five lines on a paper is not the main method of training.’
    16. 1.16A sequence of notes or tones forming an instrumental or vocal melody.
      ‘a powerful melodic line’
      • ‘The album marks a slight return to more elaborated ambiences and more defined melodic lines, yet Ford firmly remains on minimal grounds here.’
      • ‘Simon manages to imply whole whirling masses of emotional upheaval in but a few words and lines of melody.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The bass line from the music system must have been audible in Greenwich.’
      • ‘Their style is melodic driving rock, with textured guitars and strong vocal harmony lines.’
      • ‘Moochin has a decisive Latin American feel, with rich ensembles, intricate horn and rhythm lines and a feisty alto solo from Joel Purnell.’
      • ‘Their sound combined walls of noise with unsettling calm, screeching vocals and to-die-for bass lines.’
      • ‘Folk songs work well, but pop music of any kind or any period will do as long as it has relatively simple melody lines.’
      • ‘Wayne Shaw and Stephen Dunn layer complementary guitar parts over Brad Higgins' melodic bass 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.’
      • ‘Scott and Dankworth were blown away by the melodic lines of modern jazz and its soulful use of chord substitutions, ninths and flattened fifths.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the finest folk tradition, the melody lines are long and abundantly worded.’
      • ‘If rap or trance music with pounding bass lines is your staple musical diet, you had better look elsewhere.’
      • ‘This ranks among the most spectacular music of its age, with its thrilling textures and virtuoso vocal lines.’
      • ‘These three études are difficult virtuoso works with lush musical lines.’
      • ‘The flute carries the melodic lines throughout with the piano providing the simple accompaniment.’
      • ‘The Davis group used simple melodic lines over supercharged rhythmic complexity and the results are still being digested today.’
    17. 1.17A dose of a powdered narcotic or hallucinatory drug, especially cocaine or heroin, laid out in a line.
      • ‘A line of cocaine is now cheaper than many high-street cups of coffee.’
      • ‘He told police that he had snorted two lines of cocaine that evening, December 11 last year, but claimed the drug had no effect.’
      • ‘He also told the jury he had had four lines of cocaine and ten pints of lager that evening.’
      • ‘Now, I have the odd pint and maybe the odd line of cocaine on a special occasion.’
      • ‘Richard cut up the cocaine into two lines with a bank card he took from his wallet.’
      • ‘She would be there doing heroin and I started off by just having a line on the foil.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The rest of the band snorted lines, but Mick stayed back with a drink.’
      • ‘He bent his head back to the powder and inhaled the line through the straw.’
      • ‘Leeds Crown Court heard all three were drinking before the attack while Johnston had also snorted four lines of cocaine.’
      • ‘They'd laid out little lines of the white powder on a mirror.’
      • ‘If potheads are entitled to their drug of choice, why not those who prefer a line of Charlie?’
  • 2A length of cord, rope, wire, or other material serving a particular purpose.

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

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

    ‘a line of acolytes proceeded down the aisle’
    • ‘Mountains are a focal point of the scenery, of course, and a line of Munros divides Glen Etive from Glen Kinglass.’
    • ‘A seemingly endless line of petrol tankers cruises along the road, their drivers smiling at us as we speed by.’
    • ‘The Vauxhall, travelling towards Bath, was overtaking a line of stationary vehicles looking to turn right.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By the time the doors opened, more than 100 people had queued, in a line stretching back to Peasholme Green.’
    • ‘A ditch and a line of trees ran along the edge of the playing fields.’
    • ‘His blue Peugeot car had been overtaking a line of traffic when it turned a corner, clipped a kerb and went out of control’
    • ‘A car went into a line of parked vehicles on Clacton seafront causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage.’
    • ‘The taxis were standing in a line, one behind the other.’
    • ‘Long lines of blood donors queued up outside area hospitals.’
    • ‘A line of uniformed police proceeded through the crowds.’
    1. 4.1North American A row or sequence of people or vehicles awaiting their turn to be attended to or to proceed.
      • ‘You name what you want, buy the coupons, and then join the line before the serving counters.’
      • ‘The man who'd been ahead of them in the line ended up sitting five or six people away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Panhandlers and street sleepers proliferate in New York, and soup kitchen lines have become noticeably longer.’
      • ‘I've seen lines out the door for people waiting to check in to the hotel.’
      • ‘The coffee shop was crowded now but he pushed his way to the front of the line at the counter.’
      • ‘At the American supermarket I learnt that we must join the line, not the 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the jobs we are talking about, there are not long lines of Americans ready to take them.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘We do pay-per-view at seven in the morning in pubs, and we get lines out the door.’
      • ‘International connections were impossible also and long lines formed at pay phones.’
      • ‘It was also the fastest moving line I have every been in at the airport.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 4.2A 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’
      • ‘Plaques and stones dotted along pavements and hidden in backstreets commemorate those who died, and those family lines that were ended by the bomb.’
      • ‘This story has supposedly been passed all the way down the line, directly from Tara.’
      • ‘Mrs Caywood-Guffy has traced her family line back to an ancestor who lived in Cawood in 1200.’
      • ‘Mrs Clarke herself lives in Winchester and is keeping the family line going with a daughter and three grandchildren.’
      • ‘Ms King said the skills are passed through the family line but not necessarily from mother to daughter.’
      • ‘The family line is passed through the male heir and so it is important to people to have a male offspring.’
      • ‘All titles were heritable and followed the male line of descent almost exclusively.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was the best of his family but the male line is extinguished.’
      • ‘If you want to learn about magic, chances are you weren't the first in your family line to have that calling.’
      • ‘Boys were desirable because they carried on the family name, which was passed on through the male line.’
      • ‘Now, the pendant passes down the female line in our family, given to each woman on her wedding day.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Constantine's ancestry in the male line was Gaelic, like most Pictish kings in the 9th cent.’
      • ‘Charlie has broken the generational pattern of anger and abuse in his family line.’
      • ‘The Jesse Tree is a type of Family Tree - the family line from which Jesus the Saviour was born.’
      ancestry, family, parentage, birth, descent, lineage, extraction, derivation, heritage, genealogy, roots, house, dynasty, origin, background
      View synonyms
    3. 4.3US (in football, hockey, etc.) a set of players in the forwardmost positions for offense or defense.
      • ‘Birk made the Pro Bowl last season and is the most talented player on the offensive line.’
      • ‘There are too many holes remaining on defense and not enough talent on the offensive line.’
      • ‘Two key players to watch on the offensive line are tackles Kwame Harris and Jonas Jennings.’
      • ‘One player to build around is Orpheus Roye, who has been the line's steadiest player.’
      • ‘The team reshuffled its defensive line in an effort to get its most experienced players on the field.’
      • ‘He's at his best when positioned near the line and allowed to attack the offense or stuff the run.’
      • ‘He's not the biggest or strongest player in the line, but he's savvy and is like a coach on the field.’
      • ‘The club generally likes to select players who can play more than one line position.’
      • ‘Ruegamer can play any position on the offensive line but is best when used inside.’
      • ‘That would force a young player or rookie to start on an offensive line already lacking depth.’
      • ‘This club is far more physical up front on the offensive line and the defense is running wild.’
      • ‘A few months ago the best forward line in football was Luis Figo, Patrick Kluivert and Rivaldo.’
      • ‘Brad Scioli is proving to be one of the more versatile and valuable players on the defensive line.’
      • ‘He put other big players in the forward line, distracting the opposition from Neitz.’
      • ‘He wants to run the ball and win the game on the offensive and defensive line.’
      • ‘Perhaps no other part of football is so overlooked as the intricacies of the offensive line.’
    4. 4.4American Football One of the positions on the line of scrimmage.
    5. 4.5A 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Three wheelie bin blazes in the early hours of Thursday are the latest in a line of 24 arson attacks in the last year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Norwich Union is the latest in a long line of financial services companies to move call centre jobs to India.’
      • ‘The new out-patient department is the latest in a line of enhanced services being provided from the hospital.’
      • ‘It was the latest in a long line of frustrating races for Coulthard.’
      • ‘Capt Rimington and his son come from a long line of distinguished Naval officers.’
      • ‘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
    6. 4.6A range of commercial goods.
      ‘the company intends to hire more people and expand its product line’
      • ‘Expect discounts of 35 per cent on most ranges with selected lines at half price.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bradford supermarket giant Morrisons has taken 44 product lines off its shelves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her Adidas tennis dresses and her own much-publicised line of sport bras are making her millions.’
      • ‘Shareholders can expect to see a continued roll-out of new product lines and distribution channels.’
      • ‘He later diversified into the toy market and the company supplies major retailers with over 800 lines of toys.’
      • ‘Cost is again an issue, because expanding product lines would slow down production.’
      • ‘The company has streamlined its existing product range and launched the new lines after extensive consumer research.’
      • ‘Increased scale will allow the co-op to drive down unit costs across their branded and own-label product lines.’
      • ‘Now he hoped to expand his line of products and services by taking advantage of the Web.’
      • ‘Intel cited broad success across all of its major product lines during a healthy third quarter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Automotive history is replete with instances where luxury brands expanded their lines downmarket.’
      • ‘Tills and customer service desks have been moved, with more space being provided for extra product lines.’
      • ‘It's not surprising, then, that the demand for new products and new lines at Wal-Mart is unending.’
      • ‘The line will feature all manner of garments, from party dresses to sweaters.’
      • ‘This meant a change in product lines and a revamp of the brand.’
      brand, kind, sort, type, variety, make, label, trade name, trademark, registered trademark
      View synonyms
    7. 4.7informal A false or exaggerated account or story.
      ‘he feeds me a line about this operation’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
    8. 4.8US The point spread for sports events on which bets may be made.
      • ‘The line, published in many daily newspapers, establishes for bookmakers and bettors across the continent the team favored to win each game and by how many points.’
  • 5An area or branch of activity.

    ‘the stresses unique to their line of work’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Football players have to give up their profession at an early age and start all over and find a new line of work.’
    • ‘I've taken a low-risk option because my line of work is more risky than most.’
    • ‘And yet we thought that in some ways it was a fitting tribute to a man in his line of work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Staring at a computer screen all day wasn't the best line of work but it paid pretty well.’
    • ‘Yet again, it has been made clear to me that I'm in the wrong line of work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wordsworth was a rather loquacious sort, a trait that served him well in his line of work.’
    • ‘Also, hopefully, I am in a line of work that will allow me to keep going beyond the conventional retirement age.’
    • ‘His current line of work does have some inbuilt advantages for a politician, however.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He remarked that a person in his line of work gets to see places that most people never see.’
    • ‘Obviously, in my line of work, I spend more time watching other teams playing than I do watching my own.’
    • ‘She realises she is going into a competitive line of work.’
    • ‘Perhaps he blurs fact and fiction a little in places but then again I guess that's forgivable in his line of work.’
    • ‘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. 5.1A direction, course, or channel.
      ‘lines of communication’
      ‘he opened another line of attack’
      • ‘My first line of attack would have to be improving the management of the country's security services.’
      • ‘The Public Health Unit director said an annual vaccination was the best line of defence against the flu.’
      • ‘We'll have to wait and see what the reasons are but there are essentially two overlapping lines of attack.’
      • ‘It allowed the Germans to concentrate against the expected line of attack.’
      • ‘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%.’
      • ‘Sometimes the various lines of attack become crossed.’
      • ‘Contemporary opponents of liberalism prefer indirect lines of attack.’
      • ‘Well, since it's a legitimate line of attack, I think we should explore it a little further.’
      • ‘For most campaigners, the line of attack is education, education and more education.’
      course of action, course, procedure, mo, technique, way, tactic, tack, system, method, process, manner
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2A manner of doing or thinking about something.
      ‘you can't run a business on these lines’
      ‘the superintendent was thinking along the same lines’
      • ‘Taken alone, this line of argument presents a weak case against the single tax.’
      • ‘In 1820 Schumann was sent to the local Gymnasium, where his education proceeded on traditional lines.’
      • ‘Gardai confirmed yesterday that they have a definite line of enquiry in connection with this robbery.’
      • ‘There is a shortage of Olympic-size pools and most of these are run on commercial lines, so British swimming cannot afford priority access.’
      • ‘This has led me to instruct the State Security Corps not to rule out any line of investigation.’
      • ‘Two independent lines of evidence provide support for our conclusion.’
      • ‘The album was launched with a big bang, and the band was promoted on the same lines as girl bands abroad.’
      • ‘More witnesses have come forward in the past week providing officers with new lines of inquiry.’
      • ‘Apparently they haven't bothered to follow this line of reasoning to its obvious conclusion.’
      • ‘In some ways NHS policy is moving along the same lines.’
      • ‘You may disagree with it, but it's social policy on the same lines as that toward drug users or speeders.’
      • ‘You are more likely to have major breakthroughs when your line of thought isn't being interrupted.’
      • ‘And last night I had a conversation with my dad along the same lines.’
      • ‘The final point I would like to make is that I understand that the Australians adopted legislation along these lines some time ago.’
      • ‘He really didn't like this line of questioning, but he felt trapped.’
      • ‘These lines of research can better inform prevention and intervention programs for adolescent problems.’
      • ‘Over 30 years ago undergraduate physics labs in Glasgow University were run on very similar lines to the Oxford system you describe.’
      • ‘John Manley, former Deputy Prime Minister, has argued along the same lines.’
      • ‘A drugs overdose is one line of inquiry police have been investigating.’
      • ‘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. 5.3An agreed-upon approach; a policy.
      ‘the official line is that there were no chemical attacks on allied troops’
      • ‘He would like to see the courts taking a tougher line with young troublemakers.’
      • ‘Do you think that the High Court's line on this issue is, at the end of the day, a sensible one?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This Government has been prepared to take a tough line on crime and sentencing.’
      • ‘A foreign ministry spokeswoman insisted the government was taking a firm line on corruption.’
      • ‘The SNP is giving its MSPs a free vote on this, not least because it has yet to establish a common line.’
      • ‘EU governments were expected to agree a common line on the issue at a meeting in Belgium this weekend, he said.’
      • ‘He took a libertarian line on drug supply, but had rather stern views on consumption.’
  • 6A connected series of military fieldworks or defenses facing an enemy force.

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


  • 1Stand or be positioned at intervals along.

    ‘a processional route lined by people waving flags’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They lined the pavement just yards from the front door of Number 10.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Manda glanced around in appreciation at the quiet street, and the snow-covered trees that lined the sidewalk.’
    • ‘It was a nice walk, with pine trees lining the sidewalk.’
    • ‘The event was just like a carnival, with many thousands of residents lining the roadsides to watch the procession.’
    • ‘Scores of police on foot and horseback lined the route as the protestors marched at a slow pace, bringing traffic to a standstill.’
    • ‘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 approach to the house, via a long tree-lined sweeping avenue, takes you back to the era of Emily Bronte.’
    • ‘Riot police lined the sidewalk and followed the march on bicycles and motorcycles, at times ramming the retreating protesters.’
    • ‘The next day thousands of spectators lined the route.’
    • ‘There is a crowd of chanting people walking down the street, traffic is at a standstill and police line the pavements.’
    • ‘The street was lined on either side by majestic oaks, guarding the way.’
    • ‘Trees lined the sidewalks, creating shade for relaxing walks on summer days.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Although thousands of people lined the pavements to salute the couple, the turnout was much lower than had been expected.’
    • ‘Cocoa trees lined most of the main roads that led to her home.’
    • ‘Fans lined nearly every fairway, and both Vijay Singh and John Daly had huge groups follow them around the course.’
    • ‘But the crowds lining the pavements of the city centre seemed oblivious to the problems which had led up to the day.’
    border, edge, fringe, bound, skirt, hem, rim
    View synonyms
  • 2Mark or cover with lines.

    ‘a thin woman with a lined face’
    ‘lined paper’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Looking at the his lined, weary face, it was hard not to feel sorry for him.’
    • ‘Sean Penn - lined, morose and world-weary - is outstanding as a federal agent assigned to to protect her.’
    • ‘Behind the large paper-covered desk opposite the door sat an elderly man with graying hair and a lined face.’
    • ‘His face seemed lined and there was no hint of expression.’
    • ‘Over her shoulder, she cast Mark a curious glance before unfolding the small, lined piece of paper.’
    • ‘His face was dark and deeply lined, his stubbly grey beard looked about four days old, but still he smiled.’
    • ‘I handed him a fresh sheet of lined paper and watched him scribble away.’
    • ‘His face is stern and lined, as if he worries too much.’
    • ‘Women's faces surrounded her, some lined, some smooth, some cruel, some kind, but none familiar.’
    • ‘If you use it on the arms and shoulders your skin will feel polished, glowing, and over time, less lined.’
    • ‘As for the writing paper (which should never be called note paper), this must be plain, not lined, and white or ivory.’
    • ‘But when we meet at the office of his London publishers he looks younger, his face less 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.’
    • ‘In just 15 days, they look plumper and less lined and lipstick stops ‘feathering’ and lasts longer.’
    • ‘He began to look older than his years, heavier in the midsection, more lined in the face.’
    • ‘Her face was deeply lined and she had large dark circles under her eyes.’
    • ‘His broad, brown-red face was only lightly lined, its earnest, amiable expression reflecting an inner comfort.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was also lined paper with scratched out math problems and crumpled sheets with the beginnings of sentences.’
    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
  • 3Baseball
    Hit a line drive.


  • above the line

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

      • ‘Budgets are also compared to costs, both above the line and internal.’
      • ‘The £67 million would be split 50: 50 above the line and below 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But they are paying substantial service costs because those costs are above the line.’
    • 2Business
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The company plans a substantial "above-the-line" campaign, which means any marketing support beyond what the carrier plans to provide.’
      • ‘Marketing is changing: the customer experience no longer recognizes offline, online, above the line or below.’
    • 3Bridge
      Denoting bonus points and penalty points, which do not count toward 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 caused by lack of care all down the line’
      • ‘The price pressure goes all the way down the line, and certainly goes to the contract manufacturers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is going to be absolute heartbreak all the way down the line.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In other words, the falling rate of return on long-term risk-free Treasury debt has lowered rates of return all along 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.’
      • ‘We're going to campaign against it all the way down the line to the Senate vote and on to the election.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They totally contradicted themselves 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Twenty months down the line, the talks are off but the problems which prompted them remain.’
      • ‘After all, if a kid is talented at five, odds-on they will still be talented ten years down the line.’
      • ‘Alas, twelve months down the line and the whole project seems to be dead in the water.’
      • ‘She was maybe 20 and had vague hopes, somewhere down the line, of becoming an actor.’
      • ‘They may be simply storing up more problems for themselves down the line.’
      • ‘Hopefully people will benefit a few years down the line if English managers get a good name.’
      • ‘Naturally, somewhere along the line there will have to be an admission of guilt and the possibility of reconciliation.’
      • ‘He's obviously spoken out at some point down the line and upset his manager.’
  • below the line

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

    • 2Business
      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 role will incorporate a mix of above and below the line, digital, print, display and social marketing.’
      • ‘A combination of below-the-line media deliver a good media mix that carries the consumer down the media path to persuasion effectively.’
      • ‘Some wireless carrier executives said the company also spends more on below-the-line marketing than any device-maker.’
      • ‘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 launch will be supported by a variety of above- and below-the-line marketing activities, including trade and consumer PR support.’
    • 3Bridge
      Denoting points for tricks bid and won, which count toward 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's things like that which rile up the below-the-line commentators the most!’
      • ‘I'm going to blog some reactions to today's expected marriage rulings, below the line.’
      • ‘We will usually provide some commentary below the line.’
      • ‘Share your best attempts below the line here.’
      • ‘From reading below the line here there seem to be quite enough people who share your views without needing to make them up.’
      • ‘Thanks for all your contributions via email and below the line.’
      • ‘Below-the-line comments from the public fizz with outrage.’
  • bring someone/something into line

    • Cause someone or something to conform.

      ‘the change in the law will bring Britain into line with Europe’
      • ‘The proposal also brings Scots Law into line with the European Convention of Human Rights.’
      • ‘The Law Society has written to 150 solicitors warning them to bring their websites into line with new advertising regulations or face disciplinary action.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She said Government policy required all registered social landlords to ensure rents were brought into line with what is known as a target rent.’
      • ‘Huge pressure is being put on England to bring its legal system into line with the rest of the European Union.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A council spokesman said charges had been frozen last year and the rises brought them into line with other councils.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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?’
  • come into line

    • Conform.

      ‘Britain has come into line with other Western democracies in giving the vote to its citizens living abroad’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An FA spokesman confirmed yesterday that English football was likely to come into line with the rest of the world next season.’
      • ‘Qantas remains quietly confident that after some initial huffing and puffing, and even some limited protests, all unions will come into line.’
      • ‘‘I think that the regulator will be insisting that all drivers come into line with the kind of standards we have set,’ he said.’
      • ‘This is in spite of government pressure for the university to come into line with other universities which charge overseas students higher fees.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The other 220 owners have agreed to sell, but the deal may not work if the others don't come into line.’
      • ‘It will also mean that your home will come into line with the latest building regulations.’
  • 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, beyond which one will not go.

      ‘Alex shared the domestic work but drew the line at laundry’
      stop short of, refuse to accept, draw a line in the sand, baulk at
      object to, take issue with, take exception to
      put one's foot down about
      View synonyms
  • the end of the line

    • see the end of the road at end
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I am afraid you have reached the end of the line so far as the law courts are concerned.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We're not taking it any further: we've come to the end of the line and used all the procedures we can.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Crawford's fight finally reached the end of the line this month when his appeal was dismissed.’
  • get a line on

    • informal Learn something about.

      • ‘We could waste hours and days trying to get a line on Jarrow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sipowicz is searching for Lou DaSilva and he gets a line on where he can be found, so he and Clark go after him.’
      • ‘On Thursdays, I review newspaper classifieds to get a line on the yard and estate sales I'll visit the coming weekend.’
      • ‘Lots of information here; a good place to start if you just need to get a line on what's available.’
      • ‘If you've got a line on something going on in the private sector, let me know.’
      • ‘She's got a line on a two-bedroom apartment in nearby Le Sueur that might be affordable.’
      • ‘And remember Sheldon if you get a line on where Regan is you call me, is that clear?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, I hope Interpol gets a line on this operation and raids them for counterfeit goods.’
  • in line

    • 1Under control.

      ‘that threat kept a lot of people in line’
      • ‘It is possible that cosmetic concessions such as these will be enough to persuade potential rebel MPs to stay in line.’
      • ‘There are no secrets in a small village, and gossip is a potent weapon to keep people in line.’
      • ‘The police are there to keep the rabble in line and protect private property.’
      • ‘The church has overused the concept of unity in the name of control and keeping people in line.’
      • ‘Listen we need more guards to keep this base safe and to keep the civilians 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      under control, in order, in check, obedient, conforming with the rules
      View synonyms
    • 2In a row waiting to proceed.

      ‘I always peer at other people's shopping carts as we stand in line’
      • ‘Waiting in line, I realised that pretty much everyone else getting on the train was also going to the convention.’
      • ‘The teller got up from behind his desk, and went over to one of the children waiting in line.’
      • ‘Some Floridians were still waiting in line to vote almost five hours after the polls were set to close.’
      • ‘We waited in line for an hour, which was fine, the weather was amazingly sunny and warm.’
      • ‘Even before the polling stations opened, the voters were standing in line.’
      • ‘Standing in line to order a cup of coffee to battle the cold, I fidgeted with my wallet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      in a queue, in a row, in a column, in a file
      View synonyms
  • in line for

    • Likely to receive.

      ‘she might be in line for a cabinet post’
      • ‘According to legal experts, he could be in line for compensation running into millions of pounds.’
      • ‘Only I don't think I'll be in line for the sort of settlement she's likely to receive.’
      • ‘Olympic boxing silver medallist Amir Khan is in line for yet another high profile award.’
      • ‘Thousands of BOI customers are expected to be in line for a refund of charges as a result of the case.’
      • ‘Aussie Kris Tassell, who has been chased by Welsh Rugby Union clubs, is also in line for a new contract.’
      • ‘If Turin's theory is true, and Burr believes it is, Turin could be in line for the Nobel Prize.’
      • ‘Sheffield's rundown riverside area will be in line for a facelift if plans to revamp it are approved.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two Manchester restaurants have made such a success of catering for veggies that they are in line for top national awards.’
      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, firefighters, or soldiers)

      • ‘Servicemen and women disabled in the line of duty trust the government will provide for them.’
      • ‘The Minister said 241 police officers had died in the line of duty over the last 141 years.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We will not stop searching until we have accounted for every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine missing in the line of duty.’
      • ‘It has provided more than $15 million to families of military personnel lost 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Just four years before, Connor's dad had been 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 organisation helps firefighters and their families who have been injured or killed 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’
      • ‘They say this figure is out of line with what is being charged in other local authority areas.’
      • ‘It is boosting production of its malaria drug in line with sharply increased demand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These prices are totally out of line with current market values.’
      • ‘The Treasury review underlines that the British economy is seriously out of line with continental economies, with Britain's recovery years more advanced.’
      • ‘This would bring the law in line with that on offensive weapons such as knives.’
      • ‘This has been our policy for some time and is in line with most other train companies' policies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The new signing and selling system was introduced to bring English football into line with the rest of Europe.’
      • ‘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’.’
  • lay (or put) it on the line

    • Speak frankly.

      • ‘However, rather than giving some lame excuse for his non-participation, he's decided to lay it on the line.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The chairman of the England Cricket Board laid it on the line today saying: ‘This has been a disaster for cricket.’’
      • ‘During his appearance on David Letterman's show, the CBS news anchor laid it on the line.’
      • ‘Anderson has laid it on the line to his players - if their performance isn't acceptable, they're out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I love guys that lay it on the line and say what they have to say and don't mince words.’
      speak frankly, be direct, speak honestly, pull no punches, be blunt, not mince one's words, call a spade a spade
      give it to someone straight, tell it like it is
      View synonyms
  • a 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I believe that everyone must be prepared to forget any past baggage - draw a line in the sand and move forward in confidence together.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We need to draw a line in the sand to maintain our voting rights.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In effect, the government of B.C. has used the referendum to draw a line in the sand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Today, my Government is drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough.’
  • line of communications

      • ‘It was a friendly and open exchange, and we're committed to keeping the lines of communications open.’
      • ‘On 7 March, Van Dorn completely outflanked Curtis's army and attacked in two columns, cutting the Federal line of communications.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Restrictive terrain may further affect lines of communications.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Predominantly her aircraft were used on strikes against enemy lines of communications, troop concentrations and industrial infrastructure.’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘Eliminate as much debt as possible, especially ‘variable rate’ debt, such as credit cards and lines of credit.’
      • ‘But customers can now access information about their lines of credit directly over the Internet.’
      • ‘Upon reading my business plan, my bank went on to extend my business a $25,000 unsecured line of credit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, the addition of a new line of credit could also hurt your credit score.’
      • ‘In recent years, many homeowners have used home equity lines of credit to pay off credit cards, make home improvements or pay college tuition.’
  • line of fire

    • The expected path of gunfire or a missile.

      ‘residents within line of fire were evacuated from their homes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She tried to edge backwards and out of the line of fire.’
      • ‘A brave Russian soldier threw himself at the czar, pushed him out of the line of fire, and thereby saved his life.’
      • ‘Instead a public servant has been sent into the line of fire as a fall-guy, a scapegoat, to take the heat.’
      • ‘He saw Jim try to move out of the line of fire, but it was too late.’
      • ‘Fox stepped forwards, but still managed to keep out of the line of fire.’
      • ‘A burst of fire came through the doorway, but I held my position around the corner, out of the line of fire.’
      • ‘Finally out of the enemy's direct line of fire, David took a close look at the opposition's positions.’
      • ‘And chief executives are not the only ones in 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.’
  • line of flight

    • The route taken through the air.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They allowed Rob to line up directly with their line of flight before he turned on his landing lights.’
  • line of force

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

      • ‘W Thomson was the first who tried to treat mathematically Faraday's conception of lines of force.’
      • ‘Io's orbit cuts across Jupiter's powerful magnetic lines of force, turning Io into a giant electricity generator.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So, scientists agreed that to keep everyone talking about the same thing, that magnetic lines of force should travel from North to South.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The gauss or flux density is the line of force per unit area of the pole.’
      • ‘As it is, auroras on Earth follow magnetic lines of force that converge at the north and south magnetic poles.’
  • the line of least resistance

  • line of march

    • The route taken in marching.

      • ‘The mode presenting the greatest risk to life is truck transport because its manned systems are restricted to moving along linear lines 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some guerrillas picked at the edges of his camps and line of march, but did not weaken him appreciably.’
      • ‘Scout units reporting to lieutenant Clark patrolled the line of march.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • line of sight

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

      ‘a building that obstructs our line of sight’
      • ‘These elliptical steel walls prevent direct lines of sight from those screening areas to the office space.’
      • ‘The range of conventional radar, the kind you see at airports with its rotating dish, is limited to direct line 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.’
      • ‘It will be possible to put the at-a-glance guide on the dashboard or windscreen in the driver's line of sight.’
      • ‘Targets were generally always within the line of sight of the artillery men.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The venue was small and the standing room layered quite steeply so it was easy to get a good 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • line of vision

    • The straight line along which an observer looks.

      ‘Jimmy moved forward into Len's line of vision’
      • ‘The L-shape design does at times obstruct the bartender's line of vision.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Realizing he did not have Inge's attention, he followed her line of vision.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mikhail, standing slightly out of his friend's line of vision, rolled his eyes.’
      • ‘I awoke with a headache; the sun glinted straight into my line of vision from a gap in the curtains.’
      • ‘Brett followed her line of vision and smiled when he saw the kitten.’
  • on the line

    • 1At serious risk.

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

  • out of line

    • informal Behaving in a way that breaks the rules or is considered disreputable or 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 was boiling with anger and shouted that his behaviour was way 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.’
      • ‘I was way out of line, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart.’
      • ‘I AM not a believer in hitting players with hefty punishments any time they step out of line.’
      • ‘If you break rules, if you step out of line, then obviously you face the consequences.’
      • ‘If he takes one step out of line during the two years after his release, he can be recalled to prison.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But I think there are possible alternatives to censuring and rebuking those who step out of line.’
      • ‘I got into an argument with the instructor, who gave me detention for speaking out of line.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • line out

    • Be put out by hitting a line drive that is caught.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The game ended after Gil Hodges lined out to right field and the A.L. won the game, 6-5.’
      • ‘‘I lined out to left field in a pinch-hitting situation,’ Ray said.’
      • ‘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.’
  • line something out

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He starts with rooted cuttings and lines them out in the field about 30' apart.’
  • line someone/something up

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A few other tables were lined up in a perfectly straight row across the room.’
      • ‘On the other side of the motorway about 65 cars and 12 motorbikes were lined up for the anti-speed camera demo.’
      • ‘We walked down the sleepy rural streets to the bay where all the oyster boats were lined up.’
      • ‘I had just labeled all the boxes and lined them up on the floor when I heard the front door open.’
      • ‘Double-decker buses were lined up outside the gates.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The troops were lined up above the water-tanks on the beach.’
      • ‘The Primary school kids were all lined up in front of the pews when I arrived.’
      • ‘The teachers were well organised - they lined the pupils up and led them down the stairs.’
      • ‘Musical instruments were lined up along the way leading to the newly built auditorium.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then paratroopers came in and took everybody out of the house and lined them up against the wall.’
      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) be arranged in a straight row.
        ‘we would line up across the parade ground, shoulder to shoulder’
        • ‘Before we knew it, the players were lining up to take penalty kicks at the goal in the hope of eliminating their opponents.’
        • ‘Developers are lining up to convert former mills into luxury apartments or build new ones on brownfield sites.’
        • ‘Talented drivers between the age of 16 and 23 will line up on the starting grid.’
        • ‘Major corporations including Lloyds TSB and Motorola are lining up for a slice of the action.’
        • ‘A queue of about 150 people were lining up to get into a nondescript-looking door.’
        • ‘One thing is for sure if Keane wants to continue on playing there will be no shortage of clubs lining up to sign him.’
        • ‘People lined up around the block in pouring rain for tickets.’
        • ‘Were you nervous when you lined up on the grid?’
        form a queue, form a line, form lines, get into columns, get into rows, file, queue up, group together, fall in, straighten up
        form a crocodile
        View synonyms
    • 2Have someone or something ready or prepared.

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


Old English līne rope, series probably of Germanic origin, from Latin linea (fibra) flax (fiber) from linum flax reinforced in Middle English by Old French ligne, based on Latin linea.




Main definitions of line in English

: line1line2



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

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


  • line one's pockets

    • Make money, especially by dishonest means.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Elliot can afford to look the other way because he is lining his pocket every time someone is cheated.’
      • ‘Swear to God, and bet on it - he is somehow lining his pocket over this deal.’
      • ‘If he cares more about your training than lining his pocket, then in my opinion that's a sign of a good teacher.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No, he's lining his pocket with contributions from commercial logging interests.’
      • ‘He is as guilty as other DJ's of using his privileged position to promote acts that will line his pocket.’
      • ‘He would not give me a pay rise despite the audiences flocking to see me and lining his pocket.’
      • ‘I want to provide a public service, not line the pockets of shareholders.’
      make money
      accept bribes
      embezzle money, siphon off money
      feather one's nest, graft, be on the make, be on the take
      View synonyms


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