clothes·​line | \-ˌlīn \

Definition of clothesline 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a line (as of cord) on which clothes may be hung to dry


clotheslined; clotheslining; clotheslines

Definition of clothesline (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to knock down (someone, such as a football player) by catching by the neck with an outstretched arm

Examples of clothesline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One item on my wishlist is a simple laundry travel clothesline from Going In Style. New York Times, "The Frugal Five," 27 June 2018 Her body was found hung up on a clothesline by a group of hunters. Morgan Baila,, "Sharp Objects Premiere Recap: Home Is Where The Murder Is," 9 July 2018 The Reddit page WeWantPlates presents a rich catalogue of the many creative and confusing ways that restaurants serve their customers food, including nachos in a sink and ravioli on a clothesline. Robert W. Smith, Washington Post, "When searching for happiness, try eating popcorn with chopsticks," 7 July 2018 Image This atelier overlooks a garden where the couple hosts events: Here, ivy grows on the surrounding buildings, creeping over the windows and wrapping itself around clotheslines pinned with a rainbow of bright undergarments. Chiara Barzini, New York Times, "The Secret Atelier Behind a Roman Boutique," 16 May 2018 Washboards were used among yards and yards of clotheslines. Kim Woodard Osterholzer, WSJ, "Faith and Family Among the Amish," 14 June 2018 Another way to dry leafy herbs is to drop them into a pillowcase, fold over the top and hang it on an outdoor clothesline. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Growing and drying herbs in summer is a great way to benefit your culinary world," 8 June 2018 That’s thick-cut, candied bacon on a clothesline with a sprig of burning rosemary smoldering underneath. Andy Staples,, "Turnaround Artist Dave Clawson and Wake Forest Are Cooking With Gas Now," 4 June 2018 The silly creature even eats the farmer’s boxer shorts, plucking them from the clothesline like a sybarite eating grapes. WSJ, "Children’s Books: Safe Journeys," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clothesline.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clothesline


1830, in the meaning defined above


1964, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

1 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for clothesline

The first known use of clothesline was in 1830

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English Language Learners Definition of clothesline

: a piece of rope or a wire that people hang wet clothes on to dry

More from Merriam-Webster on clothesline

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Spanish Central: Translation of clothesline

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by force of circumstances

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