or time line

[ tahym-lahyn ]
/ ˈtaɪmˌlaɪn /
Save This Word!

a linear representation of important events in the order in which they occurred.
a schedule; timetable.
Digital Technology.
  1. a collection of online posts or updates associated with a specific social media account, in reverse chronological order.
  2. timeline bar.
an alternate reality in which events unfold differently, often beginning at a single identifiable moment of divergence that establishes a distinct but recognizable parallel existence: My free-love hippie mom just got engaged to a hedge fund manager—what timeline am I living in?We’re stuck in the darkest timeline, trapped in a dystopian nightmare.See also parallel universe (def. 3).
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of timeline

First recorded in 1950–55; time + line1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a timeline?

A timeline is a visual representation of chronological events on a line.

Timelines are often used in videos, textbooks, articles, or other media that is recounting history. In online news and entertainment, a timeline is also often used to keep track of events as they happen, especially for pressing stories such as major world events and important elections.

On social media, a timeline is a broad term that refers to a collection of posts on someone’s account. For example, on Twitter, a user’s timeline is full of posts that they and those they follow create in an order determined by algorithm. While some social media sites might officially refer to such a collection as a page, board, or home, they can all casually be called timelines.

Example: To recreate a timeline of events from that evening, we will need as many details as possible.

Where does timeline come from?

The first records of the term timeline come from the 1950s. It combines the terms time, referring to the metric used to measure existence, and line, meaning “a mark or stroke that is longer than it is wide.” A timeline effectively means “events arranged on a line in sequential order.”

In entertainment, especially in science fiction and fantasy in which plots can become complex or convoluted, timelines are often used to keep track of and summarize the stories. In these same genres the theme of time travel is also often dealt with, which brings up questions of timelines and effects time travel has on them. In these cases, there can be parallel or multiple existences running on different histories, or timelines.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for timeline

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

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

How is timeline used in real life?

A timeline is a chronological collection of events and is often used to list historical or fictional events.


Try using timeline!

Is timeline used correctly in the following sentence?

Part of our history assignment was to create a timeline of the important battles in World War II.

How to use timeline in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for timeline

/ (ˈtaɪmˌlaɪn) /

a graphic representation showing the passage of time as a line
a time frame during which something is scheduled to happen
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