color line


variants US color line or British colour line
plural color lines
: a set of societal or legal barriers that segregates people of color from white people (as by restricting social interaction or requiring separate facilities) and prevents people of color from exercising the same rights and accessing the same opportunities as white people
usually used with the
His father … had grown up in California with Jackie Robinson, who broke the color line in Major League Baseball.Maureen O'Donnell

called also color bar

Examples of color line in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One of the film’s earliest, most important points is that the color line broken by Jackie Robinson in 1947 didn’t come into being the moment baseball was invented. Michael Nordine, Variety, 13 July 2023 Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who with her classmate Hamilton Holmes broke the color line at the University of Georgia, did the same for the magazine’s writing staff when she was elevated from assistant to staff writer, in 1964. Jonathan Lethem, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 Gibson, one of the first Black athletes to cross the color line, was the first Black player to win a Grand Slam title. The Editors, Town & Country, 31 July 2023 Many white people have more positive views shaped by living on their side of the color line. Rashad Shabazz, The Conversation, 6 July 2023 Robinson is rightly remembered as one of America’s most towering athletic figures for breaking the color line, but Negro league luminaries like Josh Gibson and Turkey Stearnes have remained relatively unsung. Michael Nordine, Variety, 13 July 2023 In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line, which had been in place since the 19th century. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 27 June 2023 The worst racial violence in Chicago's history started July 27, 1919, when a Black teenager was killed at a South Side beach after crossing an invisible color line while swimming in Lake Michigan. Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune, 19 June 2023 Discrimination at the newspaper As Oregon eliminated its color line in restaurants, theaters and other public places, so did The Oregonian. Beth Nakamura, The Oregonian -, 30 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'color line.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1874, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of color line was in 1874

Dictionary Entries Near color line

Cite this Entry

“Color line.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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