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bottom line

the last line of a financial statement, used for showing net profit or loss.
net profit or loss.
the deciding or crucial factor.
the ultimate result; outcome.
Origin of bottom line
First recorded in 1965-70
Related forms
bottom-line, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bottom line
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "The bottom line is the top one turned into cipher," she explained.

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
  • The efficiencies are shown along the bottom line, and the 100 per cent.

    A Rational Wages System

    Henry Atkinson
  • The bottom line, being nearest to the centre of the circle, is now shorter than the centre line.

  • bottom line: should your portfolio include a litigation-investment component?


    Cory Doctorow
  • In the bottom line of Table 2, the figures indicate the percentage of the population breeding in any one month.

    Birds from North Borneo

    Max C. Thompson
British Dictionary definitions for bottom line

bottom line

the last line of a financial statement that shows the net profit or loss of a company or organization
the final outcome of a process, discussion, etc
the most important or fundamental aspect of a situation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bottom line

figurative sense is attested from 1967, from profit and loss accounting, where the final figure after both are calculated is the bottom line on the page. Also (especially as an adjective) bottomline.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bottom line in Culture

bottom line definition

The last line in an audit, which shows profit or loss.

Note: By extension, “bottom line” refers to the final, determining consideration in a decision.
Note: “Bottom line” also has a derogatory implication when it refers to those people whose attention to the bottom line prevents them from recognizing the value of anything else.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with bottom line

bottom line

The ultimate result, the upshot; also, the main point or crucial factor. For example, The bottom line is that the chairman wants to dictate all of the board's decisions, or Whether or not he obeyed the law is the bottom line. This is an accounting term that refers to the earnings figures that appear on the bottom (last) line of a statement. It began to be transferred to other contexts in the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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