side·​line | \ ˈsīd-ˌlīn \

Definition of sideline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a line at right angles to a goal line or end line and marking a side of a court or field of play for athletic games
2a : a line of goods sold in addition to one's principal line
b : a business or activity pursued in addition to one's regular occupation
3a : the space immediately outside the lines along either side of an athletic field or court
b : a sphere of little or no participation or activity usually used in plural


sidelined; sidelining; sidelines

Definition of sideline (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to put out of action : put on the sidelines

Examples of sideline in a Sentence


She makes and sells jewelry as a sideline.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even host Terry Crews cringed from the sidelines as people in the audience booed. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Star Mel B Got Booed After Criticizing Angelica Hale's Performance," 22 Jan. 2019 Conversation turned toward romance and the power of fantasy: In some marriages, both partners become Mr. and Mrs. C. In others, one hears the northern call while the other supports from the sidelines. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 The United States and China reached a modest compromise on trade on the sidelines of the G20 summit in December. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The 7 biggest foreign news stories to watch in 2019, from Brexit to North Korea," 24 Dec. 2018 He was stuck on the sideline in his team’s final football game last fall, the Division 1 semifinals, a 62-34 loss to St. John Bosco. Eric Sondheimer,, "Matt McLain, the prep player who turned down $2.6 million to attend UCLA," 9 July 2018 The conga line aside, Walker is staying on the sidelines in the race and will support whoever wins the GOP primary, his spokesman Austin Altenburg said Monday. Washington Post, "GOP Senate candidate joins Gov. Walker in conga line," 9 July 2018 An apparent Dimond goal from Nathan Dickhaus in the 74th minute was disallowed after the referee conferred from a distance with the assistant referee along the right sideline. Matt Nevala, Anchorage Daily News, "Lynx get their kicks in state-championship win over Colony boys," 27 May 2018 Players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Steve Kerr's criticism of the NFL shows the NBA needs to change its own anthem policy," 24 May 2018 An advertising man with a sideline in design, Deskey achieved notice in 1932 with the opening of New York's Radio City Music Hall, an Art Deco monument featuring interiors of his design. CBS News, "Almanac: The designer of Radio City Music Hall," 29 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But with Pete Nance sidelined indefinitely because of mononucleosis, Falzon came through in a big way. Andrew Seligman, The Seattle Times, "Falzon scores 21, Northwestern beats Indiana 73-66," 22 Jan. 2019 After spending too much of season 2 sidelined, Alex finally grows into the pragmatic, morally ambiguous tactician he was meant to be. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Season 2 of Runaways forges a bold new path — eventually," 21 Dec. 2018 The USS Freedom is rejoining the fleet more than two years after an engine breakdown sidelined the vessel. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Two Years After Breakdown, This Littoral Combat Ship is Back in the Fleet," 18 Dec. 2018 Iraqi and even some U.S. officials have lobbied against efforts to sideline Mr. Khazali and his group from politics. Isabel Coles, WSJ, "Iraqi Who Once Killed Americans Is a U.S. Dilemma as He Gains Political Power," 11 Dec. 2018 Reports that Pruitt sidelined EPA staffers who objected to his requests for special treatment didn’t help his case. Evan Halper,, "Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals," 5 July 2018 Waiters, who played that game because Wade was sidelined by a virus, is still limited by a sore left ankle that required surgery last January. George Henry, The Seattle Times, "Young, Collins power undermanned Hawks past Heat," 6 Jan. 2019 With Ingram, Ball and Kyle Kuzma all sidelined by injuries, the Lakers were eager to bolster their depth for their last two games, and also have the benefit of delivering an unanticipated late-season, feel-good story. Nina Mandell, For The Win, "See the moment a 10-year development league veteran got called up to the Lakers," 10 Apr. 2018 And not alone, but with women and people of color in particular who’ve been sidelined and silenced for centuries. Celeste Ng, Glamour, "Celeste Ng Reflects on Our Era of Rage—and Illuminates the Path Forward.," 21 Dec. 2018

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


circa 1862, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1913, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near sideline


side lever






Statistics for sideline

Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for sideline

The first known use of sideline was circa 1862

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English Language Learners Definition of sideline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a line that marks the outside edge of a sports field or court
: the space outside the area where a game is played on a field or court
: a job that is done in addition to your main job



English Language Learners Definition of sideline (Entry 2 of 2)

: to prevent (a player) from playing in a game especially because of injury, illness, etc.


side·​line | \ ˈsīd-ˌlīn \

Kids Definition of sideline

1 : a line marking the side of a playing field or court
2 : a business or a job done in addition to a person's regular occupation

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More from Merriam-Webster on sideline

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sideline

Spanish Central: Translation of sideline

Nglish: Translation of sideline for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sideline for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sideline

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


excited commotion or publicity

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