life·​line | \ ˈlīf-ˌlīn How to pronounce lifeline (audio) \

Definition of lifeline

1 : a line (such as a rope) used for saving or preserving life: such as
a : a line along the outer edge of the deck of a boat or ship
b : a line used to keep contact with a person (such as a diver or astronaut) in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation
2 : something regarded as indispensable for the maintaining or protection of life

Examples of lifeline in a Sentence

The river is the town's lifeline. The new jobs were an economic lifeline for a city in need of help. The radio was their lifeline to the outside world. They threw a lifeline to the man overboard.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This was a huge lifeline for a company that has provided the Air Force with more than a decade of costly (but supremely reliable) launches and which has struggled in the face of stiff competition from SpaceX in recent years. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The military chooses which rockets it wants built for the next decade," 10 Oct. 2018 Griffiths has been leading efforts to prevent a full-scale coalition assault on Hodeida, which is responsible for more than 70 percent of imports to Yemen and is a vital lifeline for a country already teetering on the brink of famine. Fox News, "UN envoy invites Yemen's warring parties to talks on Sept. 6," 2 Aug. 2018 Letters from the catalog company were a lifeline for many customers. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Country Living, "The Lost Charm of Mail-Order Catalogs In America," 25 Oct. 2016 During the 2008 financial crisis Berkshire was able to offer lifelines to blue-chip companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and General Electric Co. Berkshire ultimately earned more than $10 billion on its financial-crisis era investments. Nicole Friedman, WSJ, "Warren Buffett Can’t Find Anything Big to Buy," 21 Feb. 2019 Those leaders have called on lawmakers to offer a financial lifeline to the superintendents and school boards that agreed to unsustainable pay hikes for teachers. Neal Morton, The Seattle Times, "Washington state schools chief adds capital-gains tax, special education to his budget wish list," 9 Oct. 2018 The operation to recapture Hodeidah is aimed at depriving the Houthis of their main economic and military lifeline in the hope this will end the stalemate and pressure the rebels to agree to a political solution. Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ, "Yemen Forces Push Toward Rebel-Held Port as Clash Escalates," 14 June 2018 The President and his Middle East allies, chiefly Saudi Arabia and Israel, clearly believe that with Iran's economy teetering, cutting off its economic lifeline will eventually topple the regime. NBC News, "Trump kept his promise on Iran. But was it the right promise?," 9 May 2018 Some people may spend all their savings to hold on to their cuddly lifeline. Rachel Swalin, Woman's Day, "9 Things Never to Say to Someone Who's Lost a Pet," 21 Sep. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lifeline.' 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 lifeline

1700, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near lifeline





life list



Statistics for lifeline

Last Updated

28 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for lifeline

The first known use of lifeline was in 1700

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English Language Learners Definition of lifeline

: something which provides help or support that is needed for success or survival
: a rope used for saving the life of someone (such as someone who has fallen into water)

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More from Merriam-Webster on lifeline

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lifeline

Spanish Central: Translation of lifeline

Nglish: Translation of lifeline for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lifeline

What made you want to look up lifeline? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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