View synonyms for line



[ lahyn ]


  1. a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface:

    a line down the middle of the page.

  2. Mathematics. a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.
  3. something arranged along a line, especially a straight line; a row or series:

    a line of trees.

  4. a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.
  5. something resembling a traced line, as a band of color, a seam, or a furrow:

    lines of stratification in rock.

  6. a furrow or wrinkle on the face, neck, etc.:

    lines around the eyes.

  7. an indication of demarcation; boundary; limit:

    the county line; a fine line between right and wrong.

  8. a row of written or printed letters, words, etc.:

    a page of 30 lines.

  9. a verse of poetry:

    A line in iambic pentameter contains five feet.

  10. Usually lines. the words of an actor's part in a drama, musical comedy, etc.:

    to rehearse one's lines.

  11. a short written message:

    Drop me a line when you're on vacation.

  12. a system of public conveyances, as buses or trains, plying regularly over a fixed route:

    the northbound line at State Street.

  13. a transportation or conveyance company:

    a steamship line.

  14. a course of direction; route:

    the line of march down Main Street.

  15. a course of action, procedure, thought, policy, etc.:

    That newspaper follows the communist line.

  16. a piece of pertinent or useful information (usually followed by on ):

    I've got a line on a good used car.

  17. a series of generations of persons, animals, or plants descended from a common ancestor:

    a line of kings.

  18. a department of activity; occupation or business:

    What line are you in?

  19. Informal. a mode of conversation, especially one that is glib or exaggerated in order to impress or influence another person:

    He really handed her a line about his rich relatives.

  20. a straight line drawn from an observed object to the fovea of the eye.
  21. lines,
    1. the outer form or proportions of a ship, building, etc.:

      a ship of fine lines.

    2. a general form, as of an event or something that is made, which may be the basis of comparison, imitation, etc.:

      two books written along the same lines.

    3. a person's lot or portion:

      to endure the hard lines of poverty.

    4. Chiefly British. a certificate of marriage.
  22. a circle of the terrestrial or celestial sphere:

    the equinoctial line.

  23. Fine Arts.
    1. a mark made by a pencil, brush, or the like, that defines the contour of a shape, forms hatching, etc.
    2. the edge of a shape.
  24. Television. one scanning line.
  25. Telecommunications.
    1. a telephone connection:

      Please hold the line.

    2. a wire circuit connecting two or more pieces of electric apparatus, especially the wire or wires connecting points or stations in a telegraph or telephone system, or the system itself.
  26. the line, Geography. the equator.
  27. a stock of commercial goods of the same general class but having a range of styles, sizes, prices, or quality:

    the company's line of shoes.

  28. an assembly line.
  29. Law. a limit defining one estate from another; the outline or boundary of a piece of real estate.
  30. Bridge. a line on a score sheet that separates points scored toward game below the line from points scored by setting a contract, having honors, etc. above the line.
  31. Music. any of the straight, horizontal, parallel strokes of the staff, or one placed above or below the staff.
  32. Military.
    1. a defensive position or front.
    2. a series of fortifications:

      the Maginot line.

    3. Usually lines. a distribution of troops, sentries, etc., for the defense of a position or for an attack:

      behind the enemy's lines.

    4. the body of personnel constituting the combatant forces of an army, as distinguished from the supply services and staff corps.
  33. an arrangement of troops of an army or of ships of a fleet as drawn up for battle:

    line of battle.

  34. a body or formation of troops or ships drawn up abreast ( column def 6 ).
  35. the class of officers serving with combatant units or warships.
  36. the regular forces of an army or navy.
  37. that part of an administrative organization consisting of persons actively engaged on a given project. Compare staff 1( def 5 ).
  38. a thread, string, cord, rope, or the like.
  39. a clothesline:

    the wash hanging on the line.

  40. a cord, wire, or the like, used for measuring or as a guide.
  41. Nautical.
    1. a pipe or hose:

      a steam line.

    2. a rope or cable used at sea.
  42. Slang. a small quantity of cocaine arranged in the form of a slender thread or line, as for sniffing.
  43. Also . a unit equal to 1/40 (0.025) inch (0.64 millimeter), for measuring the diameter of buttons.
  44. Angling. a length of nylon, silk, linen, cord, or the like, to which are attached the leader, hook, sinker, float, etc.
  45. Football.
    1. either of the two front rows of opposing players lined up opposite each other on the line of scrimmage:

      a four-man line.

    2. the line of scrimmage.
  46. the betting odds established by bookmakers for events not covered by pari-mutuel betting, especially sporting events, as football or basketball.
  47. Ice Hockey. the two wings and center who make up a team's offensive unit.
  48. Fencing. any of the four divisions of the portion of a fencer's body on which a touch can be scored, taken as an area of attack or defense.
  49. Textiles. the longer and preferred flax or hemp fibers. Compare tow 2( def 2 ).
  50. Fox Hunting. the trail of scent left by a fox.
  51. a unit of length equivalent to 1/12 (0.0833) inch (2.12 millimeters).
  52. Insurance.
    1. a class or type of insurance:

      casualty line.

    2. the amount of insurance written for a particular risk.
  53. Australian Slang. a girl or woman.

verb (used without object)

, lined, lin·ing.
  1. to take a position in a line; range (often followed by up ):

    to line up before the start of a parade.

  2. Baseball.
    1. to hit a line drive.
    2. to line out.

verb (used with object)

, lined, lin·ing.
  1. to bring into a line, or into line with others (often followed by up ):

    to line up troops.

  2. to mark with a line or lines:

    to line paper for writing.

  3. to sketch verbally or in writing; outline (often followed by out ):

    We followed the plan he had lined out.

  4. to arrange a line along:

    to line a coast with colonies.

  5. to form a line along:

    Rocks lined the drive.

  6. to apply eyeliner to (the eyes).
  7. to delineate with or as if with lines; draw:

    to line the silhouette of a person's head.

  8. Archaic. to measure or test with a line.

verb phrase

  1. to secure; make available:

    to line up support; to line up a speaker for the banquet.

    1. Baseball. to be put out by hitting a line drive caught on the fly by a player of the opposing team.
    2. to execute or perform:

      He lined out a few songs upon request.



[ lahyn ]

verb (used with object)

, lined, lin·ing.
  1. to cover the inner side or surface of:

    to line the coat with blue silk.

  2. to serve to cover:

    Velvet draperies lined the walls of the room.

  3. to furnish or fill:

    to line shelves with provisions.

  4. to reinforce the back of a painting or the spine of a book with glued fabric, paper, vellum, etc.:

    The spines were lined with long-fibered Japanese paper, extending partway over the front and back covers.


  1. a thickness of glue, as between two veneers in a sheet of plywood.



/ laɪn /


  1. a narrow continuous mark, as one made by a pencil, pen, or brush across a surface
  2. such a mark cut into or raised from a surface
  3. a thin indented mark or wrinkle
  4. a straight or curved continuous trace having no breadth that is produced by a moving point
  5. maths
    1. any straight one-dimensional geometrical element whose identity is determined by two points. A line segment lies between any two points on a line
    2. a set of points ( x, y ) that satisfies the equation y = mx + c, where m is the gradient and c is the intercept with the y -axis
  6. a border or boundary

    the county line

  7. sport
    1. a white or coloured band indicating a boundary or division on a field, track, etc
    2. a mark or imaginary mark at which a race begins or ends
  8. American football
    1. the players arranged in a row on either side of the line of scrimmage at the start of each play
  9. a specified point of change or limit

    the dividing line between sanity and madness

    1. the edge or contour of a shape, as in sculpture or architecture, or a mark on a painting, drawing, etc, defining or suggesting this
    2. the sum or type of such contours or marks, characteristic of a style or design

      the line of a draughtsman

      the line of a building

  10. anything long, flexible, and thin, such as a wire or string

    a fishing line

    a washing line

  11. a telephone connection

    a direct line to New York

    1. a conducting wire, cable, or circuit for making connections between pieces of electrical apparatus, such as a cable for electric-power transmission, telecommunications, etc
    2. ( as modifier )

      the line voltage

  12. a system of travel or transportation, esp over agreed routes

    a shipping line

  13. a company operating such a system
  14. a route between two points on a railway
    1. a railway track, including the roadbed, sleepers, etc
    2. one of the rails of such a track
  15. a roadway usually in a rural area
  16. a course or direction of movement or advance

    the line of flight of a bullet

  17. a course or method of action, behaviour, etc

    take a new line with him

  18. a policy or prescribed course of action or way of thinking (often in the phrases bring or come into line )
  19. a field of study, interest, occupation, trade, or profession

    this book is in your line

  20. alignment; true (esp in the phrases in line, out of line )
  21. one kind of product or article

    a nice line in hats

  22. a collection of bales of wool all of the one type
  23. a row of persons or things

    a line of cakes on the conveyor belt

  24. a chronological or ancestral series, esp of people

    a line of prime ministers

  25. a row of words printed or written across a page or column
  26. a unit of verse consisting of the number of feet appropriate to the metre being used and written or printed with the words in a single row
  27. a short letter; note

    just a line to say thank you

  28. a piece of useful information or hint about something

    give me a line on his work

  29. one of a number of narrow horizontal bands forming a television picture
  30. physics a narrow band in an electromagnetic spectrum, resulting from a transition in an atom, ion, or molecule of a gas or plasma
  31. music
    1. any of the five horizontal marks that make up the stave Compare space
    2. the musical part or melody notated on one such set
    3. a discernible shape formed by sequences of notes or musical sounds

      a meandering melodic line

    4. (in polyphonic music) a set of staves that are held together with a bracket or brace
  32. a unit of magnetic flux equal to 1 maxwell
  33. a defensive or fortified position, esp one that marks the most forward position in war or a national boundary

    the front line

  34. line ahead or line abreast
    a formation adopted by a naval unit for manoeuvring
  35. a formation adopted by a body or a number of military units when drawn up abreast
  36. the combatant forces of certain armies and navies, excluding supporting arms
  37. fencing one of four divisions of the target on a fencer's body, considered as areas to which specific attacks are made
  38. the scent left by a fox
    1. the equator (esp in the phrase crossing the line )
    2. any circle or arc on the terrestrial or celestial sphere
  39. the amount of insurance written by an underwriter for a particular risk
  40. a line of people, vehicles, etc, waiting for something Also called (in Britain and certain other countries)queue
  41. slang.
    a portion of a powdered drug for snorting
  42. slang.
    something said for effect, esp to solicit for money, sex, etc

    he gave me his usual line

  43. above the line
    1. accounting denoting entries above a horizontal line on a profit and loss account, separating those that establish the profit or loss from those that show how the profit is distributed
    2. denoting revenue transactions rather than capital transactions in a nation's accounts
    3. marketing expenditure on media advertising through an agency, rather than internally arranged advertising, such as direct mail, free samples, etc
    4. bridge denoting bonus points, marked above the horizontal line on the score card
  44. below the line
    1. accounting denoting entries below a horizontal line on a profit and loss account, separating those that establish the profit or loss from those that show how the profit is distributed
    2. denoting capital transactions rather than revenue transactions in a nation's accounts
    3. marketing denoting expenditure on advertising by other means than the traditional media, such as the provision of free gifts, special displays, direct mailshots, etc
    4. bridge denoting points scored towards game and rubber, marked below the horizontal line on the score card
  45. all along the line
    1. at every stage in a series
    2. in every detail
  46. do a line informal.
    to associate (with a person of the opposite sex) regularly; go out (with)

    he is doing a line with her

  47. draw the line
    to reasonably object (to) or set a limit (on)

    her father draws the line at her coming in after midnight

  48. get a line on informal.
    to obtain information about
  49. hold the line
    1. to keep a telephone line open
    2. football to prevent the opponents from taking the ball forward
    3. (of soldiers) to keep formation, as when under fire
  50. in line for
    in the running for; a candidate for

    he's in line for a directorship

  51. in line with
    conforming to
  52. in the line of duty
    as a necessary and usually undesired part of the performance of one's responsibilities
  53. lay on the line or put on the line
    1. to pay money
    2. to speak frankly and directly
    3. to risk (one's career, reputation, etc) on something
  54. shoot a line informal.
    to try to create a false image, as by boasting or exaggerating
  55. step out of line
    to fail to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
  56. toe the line
    to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc


  1. tr to mark with a line or lines
  2. tr to draw or represent with a line or lines
  3. tr to be or put as a border to

    tulips lined the lawns

  4. to place in or form a row, series, or alignment



/ laɪn /


  1. to attach an inside covering to (a garment, curtain, etc), as for protection, to hide the seaming, or so that it should hang well
  2. to cover or fit the inside of

    to line the walls with books

  3. to fill plentifully

    a purse lined with money

  4. to reinforce the back of (a book) with fabric, paper, etc


/ līn /

  1. A geometric figure formed by a point moving in a fixed direction and in the reverse direction. The intersection of two planes is a line.
  2. ◆ The part of a line that lies between two points on the line is called a line segment.


  1. A set of points that have one dimension — length — but no width or height. ( See coordinates .)

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Derived Forms

  • lined, adjective
  • ˈlinable, adjective
  • ˈliny, adjective
  • ˈlineˌlike, adjective

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Other Words From

  • lin·a·ble line·a·ble adjective
  • line·less adjective
  • line·like adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of line1

First recorded before 1000; Middle English li(g)ne “cord, rope, stroke, series, guiding rule,” partly from Old French ligne, ultimately from Latin līnea, noun use of feminine of līneus “flaxen” (originally applied to string), equivalent to līn(um) “flax” + -eus adjective suffix, and partly continuing Old English līne “string, row, series,” from Latin, as above; line 2, -eous

Origin of line2

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb linen, lyne(n), derivative of lin(e) “linen, flax,” Old English līn, from Latin līnum “flax (plant, thread, cloth)”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of line1

C13: partly from Old French ligne, ultimately from Latin līnea, n use of līneus flaxen, from līnum flax; partly from Old English līn, ultimately also from Latin līnum flax

Origin of line2

C14: ultimately from Latin līnum flax, since linings were often made of linen

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. bring / come / get into line,
    1. to become or cause to become straight, as in a row:

      The members of the marching band got into line.

    2. to conform or cause to conform or agree:

      They were persuaded to come into line with the party's policy.

  2. cross the line, to go beyond accepted standards of behavior: Sometimes cross a boundary.

    His outburst crossed the line between heated argument and offensive vilification.

  3. down the line,
    1. in all ways; thoroughly; fully:

      It's a fine house right down the line—well-built, roomy, attractive.

    2. in the future.
  4. draw the line, to impose a restriction; limit:

    They might exaggerate but would draw the line at outright lying.

  5. go up in one's lines, Theater. to forget one's part during a performance. Also British, go up on one's lines.
  6. hold the line, to maintain the status quo, especially in order to forestall unfavorable developments:

    We're trying to hold the line on prices.

  7. in line with, in agreement or conformity with:

    The action taken was in line with her decision.

  8. in line,
    1. in alignment; straight.
    2. in conformity or agreement.
    3. in control (of one's conduct):

      to keep one's temper in line.

    4. prepared; ready.
    5. waiting one behind the other in a queue:

      There were eight people in line at the teller's window.

  9. in the line of duty, in the execution of the duties belonging to some occupation, especially with regard to the responsibility for life and death: Also in line of duty.

    a policeman wounded in the line of duty.

  10. lay it on the line, Informal.
    1. to give money; pay.
    2. to give the required information; speak directly or frankly:

      I'm going to stop being polite and lay it on the line.

  11. line one's pockets, to make much money, especially in an illegal or questionable way.
  12. off line,
    1. occurring or functioning away from an assembly line, work process, etc.
    2. not in operation; not functioning.
  13. on a line, Baseball. (of a batted or thrown ball) through the air in an approximately straight line from the point of impact or delivery:

    hit on a line between third and short; thrown in on a line from the center fielder.

  14. on line,
    1. on or part of an assembly line:

      Production will be improved when the new welding equipment is on line.

    2. in or into operation:

      The manufacturing facilities will be on line before November.

    3. Computers. actively linked to a computer:

      The printer is not yet on line.

    4. Chiefly New York City. line 1( def 73e ).
  15. on the line, Informal.
    1. being risked or put in jeopardy; in a vulnerable position:

      Our prestige and honor are on the line.

    2. immediately; readily:

      paid cash on the line.

  16. out of line,
    1. not in a straight line.
    2. in disagreement with what is accepted or practiced.
    3. Informal. impertinent; presumptuous:

      That last remark was out of line.

  17. read between the lines, to understand the unexpressed but implied meaning of something said or written:

    Her letter sounded cheerful enough, but I read a certain sadness between the lines.

  18. toe the line / mark,
    1. to conform strictly to a rule, command, etc.
    2. to shoulder responsibilities; do one's duty:

      He tried hard to toe the line on the new job.

More idioms and phrases containing line

  • all along (the line)
  • along the lines of
  • blow it (one's lines)
  • bottom line
  • chow down (line)
  • down the line
  • draw a line
  • draw the line at
  • drop a line
  • end of the line
  • fall in line
  • feed someone a line
  • firing line
  • get a line on
  • go on (line)
  • hard line
  • hold the line
  • hook, line, and sinker
  • hot line
  • in line
  • lay on the line
  • least resistance, line of
  • on line
  • out of line
  • party line
  • read between the lines
  • sign on the dotted line
  • somewhere along the line
  • step out of line
  • toe the line

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Example Sentences

Goldenberg is bullish on just how much growth Fabletics will see from its men’s line so early in its lifecycle.

I think just with that time off, I continued to work on my delivery, and feel like everything’s kind of in line where I want it to be.

Mud from the channels built soil up so that it was higher than the water line.

As is a clear line of accountability if they don’t actually follow through.

In fact, in one of my restaurants, an executive chef just did something that was completely out of line.

From Ozy

Domestically, the prime minister maintains the dubious line that he is the only man who can keep the still-fragile peace.

Last week I turned 40, a bittersweet occasion because I crossed the line to living longer without my mother than with her.

Completed in 1953 and composed with standard line breaks and punctuation, the book was completely ignored upon submission.

Is it any wonder that the interests of large corporations and unions get to the front of the line?

In the end, the line between magic and religion may be something of an artificial one.

In this position, the line of cavalry formed the chord of the arc described by the river, and occupied by us.

Our talk ranged from the Panhandle to the Canada line, while our horses jogged steadily southward.

I have drawn a Line between the figures at the extream changes, that next below the Line is the extream.

My station was on the right of the line, where the breastwork, ending in a redoubt, was steep and high.

The engineer officer charged with preparing the line of retreat reported that the one bridge across the Elster was not sufficient.


Related Words

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More About Line

What is a basic definition of line?

A line is a mark or stroke that is longer than it is wide. A line is also a row of people or things or a number of people standing one in front of the other. The word line has many other senses as a noun and a verb.

A simple line resembles an uppercase I or a lowercase L. In order to draw a line with a pencil, you would move the pencil from a starting point in one direction for a second or two and then stop. A line is a simple shape that we use for many purposes. Lines are usually assumed to be straight, and we use the term curve or curved line to refer to lines that are not straight.

  • Real-life examples: We paint lines on the roads and highways to separate lanes. Our English letters are made of lines and curves. Most notebook paper has lines on it. When signing a contract, you will write your name above or on a line.
  • Used in a sentence: I drew a red line on my paper. 

The word line can also mean a row or a series of things organized in a straight line.

  • Real-life examples: Children like to knock over a line of dominoes. During drills, a sergeant might give orders to a line of soldiers. You will often see lines of trees along the road.
  • Used in a sentence: I drove slowly down the street to look at the line of the houses. 

If you ever go to an amusement park, you are likely to see lines. People who are in a line are patiently waiting for their turn to do something. These kinds of lines have people stand one in front of the other rather than side to side.

  • Real-life examples: Banks, grocery stores, amusement parks, bars, movie theatres, and ticket booths may have very long lines.
  • Used in a sentence: I managed to be at the front of the line to buy tickets.

Where does line come from?

The first records of line come from before the year 1000. It ultimately comes from the Latin līneus, meaning “flaxen,” referring to yarn or string.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to line?

  • linable (adjective)
  • lineless (adjective)
  • linelike (adjective)
  • liny (adjective)

What are some synonyms for line?

What are some words that share a root or word element with line

What are some words that often get used in discussing line?

How is line used in real life?

Line is a common word that often means a straight mark or stroke.

Try using line!

True or False?

When people are waiting in a line, they have formed a circle around something.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.