hot·​line ˈhät-ˌlīn How to pronounce hotline (audio)
variants or less commonly hot line
plural hotlines also hot lines
: a usually toll-free telephone service available to the public or to a group of people for some specific purpose
a suicide prevention hotline
His take reached a total of more than $10,000, but the scam was undone when an alert co-worker noticed it and phoned an employee-theft hotline to report it.David J. Solomon
: a direct telephone line in constant operational readiness so as to facilitate immediate communication
John Sullivan told the independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta that an emergency hotline between Washington and Moscow, set up in the Cold War … , was still in
When the Milwaukee Bucks made the emotional decision not to take the court for Game 5 of the playoffs, there was a hotline between the locker room and the NBPA [National Basketball Players Association], with [NBPA head Michele] Roberts counselling the players on the other end of that line.Don Riddell

Examples of hotline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers TIPS hotline at 816-474-8477. Noelle Alviz-Gransee, Kansas City Star, 20 Feb. 2024 Its chatbot, Juliet, incorrectly interpreted a happy customer’s glowing comment on a cabin crewmember’s care over her succulent cutting and referred that customer to a suicide hotline. Marisa Garcia, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Police are looking for others who may have been involved and are calling for witnesses, victims and people with cellphone video of the violence to call a dedicated hotline. Nick Ingram,, 17 Feb. 2024 At their hearing a few years earlier, Smokes and Warren had learned that, after Jean Casse died, someone had called a police hotline with a tip: the name and address of an individual who, the caller said, had the victim’s wallet. Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2024 In December, authorities set up a hotline for people to report any leads. Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 In Britain, call Samaritans suicide hotline at 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 There is also a national maternal mental health hotline (1-833-TLC-MAMA), which offers 24/7, free, confidential support before, during, and after your pregnancy. Tiffany Ayuda, SELF, 14 Feb. 2024 Following a report about the broken ribs from a nearby hospital to DCF’s abuse hotline, Northeast Florida State administrators finally moved Sean to a medical wing. Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald, 11 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hotline.' 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

1954, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of hotline was in 1954

Dictionary Entries Near hotline

Cite this Entry

“Hotline.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


hot·​line ˈhät-ˌlīn How to pronounce hotline (audio)
: a telephone line for direct emergency use (as between heads of governments or to a counseling service)

Medical Definition


variants also hot line
: a usually toll-free telephone service available to the public for some specific purpose (as to receive advice or information about a particular subject or to talk confidentially about personal problems to a sympathetic listener)
a poison control hotline
suicide prevention hotlines
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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