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[hair-lahyn] /ˈhɛərˌlaɪn/
a very slender line.
the lower edge of the hair, especially along the upper forehead:
a hairline that slowly receded.
worsted fabric woven with very fine lines or stripes.
  1. a very thin line on the face of a type.
  2. a style of type consisting entirely of such lines.
  3. a thin rule for printing fine lines.
  4. undesirable vertical lines between letters, caused by worn matrices.
narrow or fine as a hair:
a hairline fracture.
Origin of hairline
First recorded in 1725-35; hair + line1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hairline
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He readjusted the slide rule and slid the hairline over a bit.

    Islands of Space John W Campbell
  • The hairline above his ear was a simpler curve than she recalled.

    Wilderness of Spring Edgar Pangborn
  • He inspected the base of the hook closely and there seemed to be a fine, hairline fracture appearing around it.

  • There was a lot of grey in his short hair, and his hairline was a lot higher up his forehead.


    Cory Doctorow
  • In the sunlight it gleamed like polished silver, but they could see a hairline break in the metal encircling the center portion.

    Gold in the Sky Alan Edward Nourse
  • They saw how clean-cut was the hairline at the back of his head and over his ears––sure sign that he was “citified.”

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for hairline


the natural margin formed by hair on the head
  1. a very narrow line
  2. (as modifier): a hairline crack
  1. a thin stroke in a typeface
  2. any typeface consisting of such strokes
  3. thin lines beside a character, produced by worn or poorly cast type
a rope or line of hair
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 hairline

"cord made of hair," 1731, from hair + line. Meaning "a very fine line" is from 1846. As "the outline of the hair on top of the head," by 1903. As an adjective, of cracks, etc., by 1923.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hairline in Medicine

hairline hair·line (hâr'līn')
The outline of the growth of hair on the head, especially across the front.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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