1

line

noun, often attributive \ ˈlīn \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of line

1 a :a length of cord or cord-like material: such as
(1) :a comparatively strong slender cord
(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 2
  • 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) :equator
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

liny

or less commonly liney play \ˈlī-nē\ adjective
between the lines
1 :by implication :in an indirect way
2 :by way of inference
down the line
1 :all the way :fully
2 :in the future
in line for
:due or in a position to receive
on line
:in or into operation
on the line
1 :at great risk
  • puts his future on the line by backing that policy
2 :on the border between two categories

Examples of line in a Sentence

  1. I drew a straight line down the page to separate the two lists.

  2. Cut the paper along the dotted line.

  3. a tennis serve that was over the line

  4. After three hours on the road, they finally crossed the state line.

  5. Their yards were separated by a line of trees.

  6. Everybody had to get in line and wait their turn.

  7. The people were waiting in line.

Recent Examples of line from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'line.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of line

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

line Synonyms


2

line

verb

Definition of line

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

Recent Examples of line from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'line.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of line

see 1line


3

line

verb

Definition of line

lined; lining
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
line one's pockets
transitive verb
:to take money freely and especially dishonestly

Recent Examples of line from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'line.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of line

Middle English, from line flax, from Old English līn


LINE Defined for English Language Learners

line

noun

Definition of line for English Language Learners

  • : a long narrow mark on a surface

  • : a mark on the ground that shows the edge of the playing area in a sport

  • : an area or border that separates two places


LINE Defined for Kids

1

line

noun \ ˈlīn \

Definition of line for Students

1 :a long thin cord or rope
  • fishing lines
  • Hang your clothes on the line.
2 :a long narrow mark Draw a line on your paper.
3 :an arrangement of people or things in a row We waited in line.
4 :a row of letters, words, or musical notes across a page or column
5 :the boundary or limit of a place
  • the town line
6 :family 2
  • He comes from a long line of farmers.
7 :a way of behaving or thinking
  • He took a firm line with his son.
8 :1outline 1, contour
  • The sailboat has beautiful lines.
9 :an area of activity or interest
  • What line of work are you in?
10 :the position of military forces who are facing the enemy
11 :a pipe carrying a fluid (as steam, water, or oil)
12 :an outdoor wire carrying electricity or a telephone signal
13 lines plural :the words of a part in a play
14 :the path along which something moves or is directed
  • It's in my line of vision.
15 :the track of a railway
16 :agreement 1, harmony
  • They tried to bring their ideas into line.
17 :a system of transportation
  • a bus line
18 :the football players whose positions are along the line of scrimmage
19 :a geometric element produced by moving a point
20 :a plan for making or doing something
  • I wrote a story along these lines.

2

line

verb

Definition of line for Students

lined; lining
1 :to indicate with or draw a long narrow mark
2 :to place or be placed in a row along
  • Shops line the street.
line up
1 :to gather or arrange in a row or rows
  • The children lined up.
2 :to put into alignment
  • Make sure the pieces line up.

3

line

verb

Definition of line for Students

lined; lining
:to cover the inner surface of
  • line a coat

Medical Dictionary

line

noun \ ˈlīn \

medical Definition of line

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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