through line

noun

variants or throughline or less commonly 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

Examples of through line in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As Kenneth, Moore dusts his dialogue in dry comedy and accentuates the through lines of a character whose open mind restrains with age. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2024 But the 75th prime-time Emmy Awards repeatedly made creative choices to illustrate that television has always offered a breadth of worthwhile programming—a history lesson that lent the show a welcome, if imperfectly executed, structure and thematic through line. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 Jan. 2024 Saboteurs pick locks and toss shock traps, and Bruisers break walls and charge through lines of enemies. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 8 Oct. 2023 The drama between the two candidates, which has grown nastier in the course of the four debates, is of the personal and intra-racial sort, and has been the through line that has stuck with me. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 8 Dec. 2023 The actress and singer promises a through line, without handing out hints. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2023 Another through line is that of chance: not only how a random mutation can end up being useful to a creature’s survival but also, for example, the chance arrival of the dinosaur-killing asteroid. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 In addition to the painstaking attention to vineyard management and winemaking, there is a through line to all the bottlings in the characteristic label design. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 6 Nov. 2023 Though West has now cycled through dozens — if not hundreds — of other creative collaborators throughout his career, Dean has been his singular through line. Kristin Robinson, Billboard, 6 Oct. 2023 See More

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

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of through line was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near through line

Cite this Entry

“Through line.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/through%20line. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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