through line

variants: or throughline \ ˈthrü-​ˌlīn How to pronounce throughline (audio) \ or less commonly through-line

Definition of through line

: a common or consistent element or theme shared by items in a series or by parts of a whole But Kent's latest nonetheless reveals a fascinating through line in her work, which centers on, as she puts it, "disrespect for the feminine"—and the inciting power of female rage.— Rachel Handler Vang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, and came to the United States in the late 1980s. For him and his family, food was the throughline keeping them connected to their culture, wherever they were.— Sharyn Jackson Perverse moments like these are a throughline in Decker's work. The Texas native specializes in "bad" desires—awkward wants that tend to go unexpressed, or which otherwise seem too compromising to confess even to oneself.— K. Austin Collins Unlike Tokyo's great shopping thoroughfares, which have a certain logical through-line (if not aesthetic, at least socioeconomic), Osaka's arcades are mismatched, high-low jumbles of retail diversions.— Simon Dumenco

First Known Use of through line

1936, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about through line

Time Traveler for through line

Time Traveler

The first known use of through line was in 1936

See more words from the same year

Statistics for through line

Cite this Entry

“Through line.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

Comments on through line

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!