plot line

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Usually plot lines. dialogue that advances the plot, as in a play or motion-picture script.
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Origin of plot line

First recorded in 1955–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a plot line?

The plot line of a story is the direction that the plot takes or the plot itself—what the story is about, including the action and events that the story tells about. It is often spelled as one word, as plotline.

A close synonym is story line. This sense of the word can also be used in the context of a real-life event to refer to one part of what’s happening, as in There’s a new plot line in the corporate scandal. 

Less commonly, the term plot line refers to a line of dialogue that advances a story’s plot in some way, such as by providing information about what has happened elsewhere. This sense of the word is often used in the plural form plot lines.

Example: I thought the novel had a few unnecessary plot lines that didn’t go anywhere.

Where does plot line come from?

The first records of the term plot line come from the late 1950s.

Plot line is often used to refer to one of the many events that make up the plot or a part of the plot. In this sense, the plot is thought of as many lines that intersect or branch off in different directions. In the context of a long-running program, plot line is especially used to refer to a smaller story that’s part of the larger plot.

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What are some other forms related to plot line?

  • plotline (alternate spelling)
  • plot lines (plural noun)

What are some synonyms for plot line?

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

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

How is plot line used in real life?

The term plot line can be used in the context of real-life events, but it’s most commonly used in the discussion of fictional stories.



Try using plot line!

True or False?

The term plot line can refer to a line of dialogue that advances the plot.

How to use plot line in a sentence