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

According to People, Harry accidentally sent a ball directly to the press area on the sidelines of the polo match, where a number of photographers were in place to shoot the event. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Almost Hit Photographers With a Polo Ball During Sentebale Match," 27 July 2018 Simpson, with the sideline to his left, began to size up the situation at about the 8-yard line, dropping the ball to his right. Jim Owczarski,, "The No. 2 Cincinnati Bengals play in last 30 years: Jerome Simpson’s flip," 12 July 2018 However, players are not allowed sit or kneel on the field or sidelines. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "NFL players' union files grievance against league's national anthem policy," 10 July 2018 Yet most physicians are standing on the sidelines and punting the treatment their patients need to someone else — or to no one. Patrick Skerrett, STAT, "Hey, doctors: Why aren’t you stepping up to treat people with opioid addiction?," 5 July 2018 With every ball caught, pass deflected, tackle made and potential touchdown dropped, the sidelines at the Governor’s Cup practice on Wednesday made its presence known. Shawn Mcfarland,, "Governor's Cup Gives Players One Last Chance To Shine On The High School Football Field," 29 June 2018 The 49-year-old coach left some of France’s most celebrated players on the sidelines. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "France, on the Brink of a World Cup Win, Has the Bleus," 13 July 2018 Castro was known for his quiet strength on the sidelines. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Former Marcos de Niza coach Frank Castro dies at 83," 13 July 2018 But such skeptics may be ripe for conversion – now that the keen artistic awareness that insiders have long recognized in Lang Lang may well emerge with more regularity, if only because his younger self is still on the sidelines. David Patrick Stearns,, "Lang Lang's recovery: Will he ever play in Philly again?," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Four years after a Lyme disease diagnosis threatened to sideline her music career, Avril Lavigne is making a major return to the spotlight. Jordan Runtagh,, "Avril Lavigne Teases New Music During First Red Carpet in 2 Years Following Lyme Disease Battle: 'I Have My Life Back'," 23 Apr. 2018 The injury is expected to sideline him an 11th straight game, including Thursday’s Game 3 against the Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs at AmericanAirlines Arena. Shandel Richardson,, "Sixers continue cautious approach with injured center Joel Embiid," 19 Apr. 2018 The move underscores how the Trump administration has sidelined science to promote energy development. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "A Trump Oil Boom Could Transform This Rocky Mountain Landscape," 13 July 2018 These officials note that China may have been concerned about warming ties between Washington and Pyongyang, which risked sidelining Beijing in nuclear talks and potentially undermining China’s strategic advantage in the region. Ian Talley, WSJ, "U.S. Calls Out China, Russia on North Korea Energy Caps, Urges U.N. Action," 12 July 2018 With its offensive centerpiece sidelined, Dallas lost its first three games of Elliott's ban. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Cowboys training camp questions: Who steps up at receiver for Dak Prescott?," 12 July 2018 Meanwhile, Trump has fired or sidelined key foreign policy advisers who share Mattis' internationalist worldview. Missy Ryan, Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "At summit, Mattis faces uphill battle," 10 July 2018 Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel will spend the next eight months sidelined after undergoing a successful knee injury., "Chelsea Midfielder Marco van Ginkel Out for 8 Months Following Knee Surgery," 10 July 2018 Terry Rozier broke through in the playoffs, helping the Boston Celtics reach the Eastern Conference finals with Kyrie Irving sidelined. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "CardsHQ podcast: What's the NBA future for Mitchell and Rozier?," 3 July 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

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sideline

The first known use of sideline was circa 1862

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More Definitions for sideline



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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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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