line

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: a length of cord or cord-like material: such as
(1)
: a comparatively strong slender cord
(2)
(3)
: a rope used on shipboard
b(1)
: a device for catching fish consisting of a cord with hooks and other fishing gear
(2)
: scope for activity : rope
c
: a length of material used in measuring and leveling
used a line to level the foundation
d(1)
: piping for conveying a fluid (such as steam)
installed a new gas line
(2)
: a narrow short synthetic tube that is inserted approximately one inch into a vein (as of the arm) to provide temporary intravenous access for the administration of fluid, medication, or nutrients
e(1)
: a wire or pair of wires connecting one telegraph or telephone station with another or a whole system of such wires
also : any circuit in an electronic communication system
(2)
: a telephone connection
tried to get a line
also : an individual telephone extension
a call on line 2
(3)
: the principal circuits of an electric power system
2
a(1)
: a horizontal row of written or printed characters
the last line on the page
also : a blank row in lieu of such characters
(2)
: a unit in the rhythmic structure of verse formed by the grouping of a number of the smallest units of the rhythm (such as metrical feet)
The poem consisted of 14 lines.
(3)
: a distinct segment of a computer program containing a single command or a small number of commands
b
: a short letter : note
dropped him a line confirming the date
c
lines plural : a certificate of marriage
d
: the words making up a part in a performance
usually used in plural
memorized his lines
e
: any of the successive horizontal rows of picture elements on the screen of a cathode-ray tube (such as a television screen)
3
a
: something (such as a ridge or seam) that is distinct, elongated, and narrow
growth lines in a tree trunk
b
: a narrow crease (as on the face) : wrinkle
c
: the course or direction of something in motion : route
the line of flight of a bullet
d(1)
: a state of agreement or conformity : accordance
took a firm line with his nephew
(2)
: a state of order, control, or obedience
wouldn't let them get out of line
e(1)
: a boundary of an area
the state line
(2)
: distinction sense 1
the fine line between love and hate
f
: the track and roadbed of a railway
g
: an amount of cocaine that is arranged in a line to be inhaled through the nose
4
a
: a course of conduct, action, or thought
especially : an official or public position
the party line
b
: a field of activity or interest
worked in the plumbing line
c
: a glib often persuasive way of talking
had a line to make the angels weep
5
a
: limit, restraint
overstepped the line of good taste
b
archaic : position in life : lot
6
a(1)
: family, lineage
descended from a noble line
(2)
: a strain produced and maintained especially by selective breeding or biological culture
(3)
: a chronological series
b
: orderly arrangements made to cover extended military positions and presenting a front to the enemy
usually used in plural
the lines of battle
c
: a military formation in which the different elements are abreast of each other
d
: naval ships arranged in a regular order
e(1)
: the combatant forces of an army distinguished from the staff corps and supply services
(2)
: the force of a regular navy
f(1)
: officers of the navy eligible for command at sea distinguished from officers of the staff
(2)
: officers of the army belonging to a combatant branch
g
: an arrangement or placement of persons or objects of one kind in an orderly series
a line of trees
stand on line
waiting in line
also : the persons or objects so positioned
the line moved slowly at the bank
h(1)
: a group of public conveyances plying regularly under one management over a route
(2)
: a system of transportation together with its equipment, routes, and appurtenances
the eastern freight lines
also : the company owning or operating it
i
: a succession of musical notes especially considered in melodic phrases
j(1)
: an arrangement of operations in manufacturing permitting sequential occurrence on various stages of production
a production line
(2)
: the personnel of an organization that are responsible for its stated objective
k(1)
: the seven players including center, two guards, two tackles, and two ends who in offensive football play line up on or within one foot of the line of scrimmage
(2)
: the players who in defensive play line up within one yard of the line of scrimmage
l
: a group of three players including a left winger, center, and right winger who play together as a unit in hockey
7
: a narrow elongated mark drawn or projected: such as
a(1)
: a circle of latitude or longitude on a map
(2)
b
: a mark (as on a map) recording a boundary, division, or contour
c
: any of the horizontal parallel strokes on a music staff on or between which notes are placed compare space
d
: a mark (as by pencil) that forms part of the formal design of a picture distinguished from the shading or color
e
: a division on a bridge score dividing the score for bonuses from that for tricks
f(1)
: a demarcation of a limit with reference to which the playing of some game or sport is regulated
usually used in combination
(2)
: a marked or imaginary line across a playing area (such as a football field) parallel to the end line
8
: a straight or curved geometric element that is generated by a moving point and that has extension only along the path of the point : curve
9
a
: a defining outline : contour
the rising line of the hills
b
: a general plan : model
usually used in plural
explained the lines of his foreign policy
10
a
chiefly British : pica
used to indicate the size of large type
b
: the unit of fineness of halftones expressed as the number of screen lines to the linear inch
11
: merchandise or services of the same general class for sale or regularly available
a full line of electrical supplies
12
a
: a source of information : insight
b
: betting odds offered by a bookmaker especially on a sporting event
13
: a complete game of 10 frames in bowling

called also string

14
15
: the part of a professional kitchen in which meals are cooked and plated
In esoteric, insider terminology of the restaurant world, "the line" refers en masse to the people, the physical space, the equipment … the arrangement of things, the order, the rules, the menu, the methods …Michael Anton
We were taught in the kitchen fray to never take anything said on the line personally.Naomi Pomeroy
working a line shift
Several years ago, while working as a line cook in a New York City restaurant, I tasted a salami unlike any I'd ever come across.Hunter Lewis
liny adjective
or less commonly liney

line

2 of 3

verb (1)

lined; lining

transitive verb

1
: to mark or cover with a line or lines
lined paper
2
: to depict with lines : draw
3
: to place or form a line along
pedestrians line the walks
4
: to form into a line or lines : align
line up troops
5
: to hit (something, such as a baseball) hard and in a usually straight line

intransitive verb

1
: to hit a line drive in baseball
2
: to come into the correct relative position : align

line

3 of 3

verb (2)

lined; lining

transitive verb

1
: to cover the inner surface of
line a cloak with silk
2
: to put something in the inside of : fill
3
: to serve as the lining of
tapestries lined the walls
4
obsolete : fortify
Phrases
between the lines
1
: by implication : in an indirect way
2
: by way of inference
down the line
1
: all the way : fully
supported him right down the line
2
: in the future
planning some further changes down the line
problems that might occur a few years down the line
in line for
: due or in a position to receive
She's in line for a promotion.
on line
: in or into operation
bringing the new factory on line
on the line
1
: at great risk
puts his future on the line by backing that policy
2
: on the border between two categories
line one's pockets
: to take money freely and especially dishonestly

Examples of line in a Sentence

Noun I drew a straight line down the page to separate the two lists. Cut the paper along the dotted line. a tennis serve that was over the line After three hours on the road, they finally crossed the state line. Their yards were separated by a line of trees. Everybody had to get in line and wait their turn. The people were waiting in line.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The goal of this relationship is to save you time, trouble, and money down the line. Brady Slack, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2023 In the meantime, the operator said it’s making progress on its remediation plan, including analysis of other areas and additional in-line inspections. Joe Sutton, CNN, 10 Feb. 2023 If she is pushed out, Caucus Vice Chairman Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Democrat of N.Y. is next in line to lead the group, people familiar with the process said. Ed O'Keefe, CBS News, 9 Feb. 2023 Email your answer in the subject line to crosswordcontest@wsj.com. WSJ, 9 Feb. 2023 See all Example Sentences for line 

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

Etymology

Noun and Verb (1)

Middle English; partly from Anglo-French lingne, from Latin linea, from feminine of lineus made of flax, from linum flax; partly from Old English līne; akin to Old English līn flax — more at linen

Verb (2)

Middle English, from line flax, from Old English līn

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of line was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near line

Cite this Entry

“Line.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/line. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

line

1 of 3 noun
1
: a long thin cord
a fishing line
2
: a cord, wire, or tape used in measuring and leveling
3
a
: a pipe for carrying a fluid
gas line
water line
steam line
b
: a wire or set of wires carrying electricity
a power line
telegraph lines
a telephone line
4
a
: a row of words, letters, numbers, or symbols that are written, printed, or displayed (as on a page or TV screen)
also : space for such a line
b
: a structural unit of something written (as a poem or a computer program)
c
: a short letter : note
drop me a line
d
plural : the words of a part in a play
forgot her lines
5
a
: something (as a ridge, seam, or wrinkle) that is long and narrow
b
: the direction followed by something in motion
the line of flight of a bullet
c
: the boundary or limit of a place or lot
town line
property line
d
: the difference known or pointed out
the fine line between love and hate
e
: the track of a railway
6
: a state of agreement
the red one is more in line with what I had in mind
7
a
: a course of behavior or thinking
especially : an official or public position
the party line
b
: what one does or is interested in
is medicine your line?
c
: smooth or interesting talk that is often insincere
8
: family sense 2
descended from a royal line
9
a
: the position of military forces facing the enemy
on the front and behind the lines
our first line of defense
b
: an arrangement of persons or things in a series
waiting in line
10
: goods for sale of one general kind
a line of clothing
11
: a system of transportation or the route over which it travels
a bus line
a steamship line
military supply lines
12
a
: a long narrow mark (as one made by a pencil)
b
: one of the horizontal lines on a music staff
c
: the football players whose positions are along the line of scrimmage
d
: a group of three players who play together as a unit in hockey
13
: a geometric element that is formed by a moving point and that has length but no width or thickness
especially : such an element that is straight
14
a
: outline entry 1 sense 1, contour
a ship's lines
b
: a general plan
a story along these lines

line

2 of 3 verb
lined; lining
1
: to mark with a line or lines
2
: to place or form a line along
3
: to form a line : form into lines
4
: to hit a line drive

line

3 of 3 verb
lined; lining
: to cover the inner surface of
line a box with paper
tapestries lined the walls
Etymology

Noun

Middle English line "thread," partly from Old English līne (same meaning) and partly from early French lingne (same meaning), derived from Latin linum "flax"

Verb

Old English līn "flax"

Medical Definition

line

noun
1
: something (as a ridge, seam, mark, or streak) that is distinct, elongated, and narrow see linea
2
: a strain produced and maintained especially by selective breeding or biological culture
3
: a narrow short synthetic tube (as of plastic) that is inserted approximately one inch into a vein (as of the arm) to provide temporary intravenous access for the administration of fluid, medication, or nutrients

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