a long tubular conduit or series of pipes, often underground, with pumps and valves for flow control, used to transport crude oil, natural gas, water, etc., especially over great distances.
a route, channel, or process along which something passes or is provided at a steady rate; means, system, or flow of supply or supplies: Freighters and cargo planes are a pipeline for overseas goods.
a channel of information, especially one that is direct, privileged, or confidential; inside source; reliable contact.

verb (used with object), pipe·lined, pipe·lin·ing.

to convey by or as if by pipeline: to pipeline oil from the far north to ice-free ports; to pipeline graduates into the top jobs.

Nearby words

  1. pipeclay,
  2. piped music,
  3. pipefish,
  4. pipefitting,
  5. pipeful,
  6. pipeliner,
  7. pipelining,
  8. piper,
  9. piperaceous,
  10. piperacillin


    in the pipeline,
    1. Informal.in the process of being developed, provided, or completed; in the works; under way.
    2. Government Informal.(of funds) authorized but not spent.

Origin of pipeline

First recorded in 1855–60; pipe1 + line1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in the pipe line



a long pipe, esp underground, used to transport oil, natural gas, etc, over long distances
a medium of communication, esp a private one
in the pipeline in the process of being completed, delivered, or produced

verb (tr)

to convey by pipeline
to supply with a pipeline
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 in the pipe line



1859, "continuous line of pipes," from pipe (n.1) + line (n.). Figurative sense of "channel of communication" is from 1921; surfer slang meaning "hollow part of a large wave" is attested by 1963.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper