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guideline

[gahyd-lahyn]
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noun
  1. any guide or indication of a future course of action: guidelines on the government's future policy.
  2. a lightly marked line used as a guide, as in composing a drawing, a typed page, or a line of lettering.
  3. a rope or cord that serves to guide one's steps, especially over rocky terrain, through underground passages, etc.
  4. a rope or wire used in guiding the movement of stage scenery or curtains being raised or lowered.

Origin of guideline

An Americanism dating back to 1775–85; guide + line1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for guideline

guideline

noun
  1. a principle put forward to set standards or determine a course of action
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

Word Origin and History for guideline

n.

1785, "line marked on a surface before cutting," from guide + line (n.). Meaning "rope for steering a hot-air balloon" is from 1846. In figurative use by 1948. Related: Guidelines.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper