Mason-Dixon line

[ mey-suh n-dik-suh n ]
/ ˈmeɪ sənˈdɪk sən /

noun

the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, partly surveyed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon between 1763 and 1767, popularly considered before the end of slavery as a line of demarcation between free and slave states.
Also Mason and Dixon line.

Origin of Mason-Dixon line

An Americanism dating back to 1770–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for mason-dixon line

Mason-Dixon Line

Mason and Dixon Line

/ (ˈmeɪsə n ˈdɪksən) /

noun

the state boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania: surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon; popularly regarded as the dividing line between North and South, esp between the free and the slave states before the American Civil War

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

Culture definitions for mason-dixon line (1 of 2)

Mason-Dixon line

Part of the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland established by the English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the 1760s. The line resolved disputes caused by unclear description of the boundaries in the Maryland and Pennsylvania charters.


Note

Though the line did not actually divide North and South, it became the symbolic division between free states and slave states. Today, it still stands for the boundary between northern and southern states.

Culture definitions for mason-dixon line (2 of 2)

Mason-Dixon line

A boundary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, laid out by two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, in the 1760s. Before and during the Civil War, the line was symbolic of the division between slaveholding and free states. After the war, it remained symbolic of the division between states that required racial segregation and those that did not.


The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.