life·​line | \ ˈlīf-ˌlīn \

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

Donate directly to trans people, especially trans women of color Online crowdfunding has long been a lifeline for transgender people seeking housing, medical treatments, or just enough money to buy groceries. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "How to Help Transgender People Fight the Trump Administration's New Policy Memo," 22 Oct. 2018 The fight for the port of Hodeida, a key lifeline for supplies and aid for Yemen's population on the brink of starvation, has become the latest battleground in the devastating war. Ahmed Al-haj, Fox News, "Yemen tribal leaders: Airstrikes in country's north kill 20," 9 Aug. 2018 That space is threaded by roads, asphalt lifelines of the population. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "How Alaska fixed its earthquake-shattered roads in just days," 8 Dec. 2018 And the offensive to capture Hodeida, which started in June, has endangered the main lifeline for imports to northern Yemen, displaced 570,000 people and edged many more closer to starvation. Declan Walsh, The Seattle Times, "The tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen," 26 Oct. 2018 Someone should introduce him to economist Steve Hanke, who is offering the Turkish strongman the best lifeline available to stop the panic. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Lifeline for Turkey," 12 Aug. 2018 But the fight has thrown a lifeline to partisan publishers, who have struggled this year as Facebook ratcheted down the amount of news in the News Feed. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Facebook polarized us during the Kavanaugh hearings," 6 Oct. 2018 The decision throws yet another lifeline to the US' weak nuclear industry. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Vote results: Construction will continue on Vogtle nuclear power plant," 27 Sep. 2018 Line 3 is a lifeline to an industry struggling to justify itself. WSJ, "Oil Pipeline Purpose Is to Block Electric Cars," 29 July 2018

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

6 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for lifeline

The first known use of lifeline was in 1700

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More Definitions for lifeline



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

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