- a line by which a lead is lowered into the water to take soundings: in deep-sea practice, divided into levels one fathom apart, variously treated as marks and deeps.
Origin of lead line
First recorded in 1475–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for lead line
Sez Counahan: 'Either the lead-line's tuk too stretchin' or else the Bank's sunk.'"Captains Courageous"
The gulf has become a lake, but it is also an abyss, and no lead-line has yet sounded its depths.In Search of the Castaways
Green had a lead-line on board; it was let fall over the side, but no bottom was found.The Three Commanders
The lead-line betokened fifty fathoms where the frigate had cast anchor.The Three Lieutenants
Gardiner sprang to the lead-line to see the effect on his own vessel.The Sea Lions
James Fenimore Cooper
- nautical a length of line for swinging a lead, marked at various points to indicate multiples of fathoms
- An irregular dark deposit in the gums occurring in lead poisoning.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.