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 Broadly speaking, tech was a lifeline to anyone able (and forced) to remotely work, go to school, socialize and access online entertainment this year. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Bestselling tech & gadgets: Most purchased wearable and personal tech we've covered," 29 Dec. 2020 Millions face eviction, poverty as unemployment benefits expire President Donald Trump did not sign the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill this weekend, leaving 14 million unemployed Americans without an economic lifeline for rent and food. Editors, USA TODAY, "Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend," 27 Dec. 2020 Even with a vaccine on the way, infections and related deaths won’t cease any time soon and fans may not be allowed to fill stadiums again until late summer, squeezing the league’s economic lifeline again. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "News Analysis: Was it worth it to have an MLS season amid coronavirus?," 13 Dec. 2020 China is North Korea's biggest trading partner and effectively the Kim regime's economic lifeline -- the country basically doesn't import significantly from anywhere else. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Kim Jong Un is cutting off his economic lifeline, China, to stave off Covid-19," 29 Nov. 2020 Non-union garment factories emerged as an economic lifeline for a desperate workforce of miners’ wives and daughters, who worked long hours under poor conditions, with no recourse and no representation. Catherine Rios And David Witwer, Smithsonian Magazine, "The True Story of Min Matheson, the Labor Leader Who Fought the Mob at the Polls," 22 Oct. 2020 The Mekong springs in Tibet and courses through six countries, including China, before entering the sea in south Vietnam and is an economic lifeline for some 220 million people. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Systemic shocks: the U.S. financial market is under threat from climate change," 10 Sep. 2020 Among the myriad release plan changes wrought by the pandemic, no studio has so fully embraced streaming as a lifeline. Jake Coyle, Anchorage Daily News, "In a seismic Hollywood shift, Warner Bros. will stream all of its 2021 films," 4 Dec. 2020 Among the myriad release plan changes wrought by the pandemic, no studio has so fully embraced streaming as a lifeline. CBS News, "Warner Bros. to release new "Matrix" and other 2021 movies on HBO Max," 4 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for lifeline

Time Traveler

The first known use of lifeline was in 1700

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Statistics for lifeline

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lifeline.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce lifeline (audio)

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)

More from Merriam-Webster on lifeline

Nglish: Translation of lifeline for Spanish Speakers

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