- the outer form or proportions of a ship, building, etc.: a ship of fine lines.
- 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.
- a person's lot or portion: to endure the hard lines of poverty.
- Chiefly British. a certificate of marriage.
- a mark made by a pencil, brush, or the like, that defines the contour of a shape, forms hatching, etc.
- the edge of a shape.
- a telephone connection: Please hold the line.
- 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.
- a defensive position or front.
- a series of fortifications: the Maginot line.
- Usually lines. a distribution of troops, sentries, etc., for the defense of a position or for an attack: behind the enemy's lines.
- the body of personnel constituting the combatant forces of an army, as distinguished from the supply services and staff corps.
- a pipe or hose: a steam line.
- a rope or cable used at sea.
- either of the two front rows of opposing players lined up opposite each other on the line of scrimmage: a four-man line.
- the line of scrimmage.
- a class or type of insurance: casualty line.
- the amount of insurance written for a particular risk.
verb (used without object), lined, lin·ing.
- to hit a line drive.
- to line out.
verb (used with object), lined, lin·ing.
- Baseball. to be put out by hitting a line drive caught on the fly by a player of the opposing team.
- to execute or perform: He lined out a few songs upon request.
- to become or cause to become straight, as in a row: The members of the marching band got into line.
- to conform or cause to conform or agree: They were persuaded to come into line with the party's policy.
- in all ways; thoroughly; fully: It's a fine house right down the line—well-built, roomy, attractive.
- in the future.
- in alignment; straight.
- in conformity or agreement.
- in control (of one's conduct): to keep one's temper in line.
- prepared; ready.
- waiting one behind the other in a queue: There were eight people in line at the teller's window.
- to give money; pay.
- to give the required information; speak directly or frankly: I'm going to stop being polite and lay it on the line.
- occurring or functioning away from an assembly line, work process, etc.
- not in operation; not functioning.
- on or part of an assembly line: Production will be improved when the new welding equipment is on line.
- in or into operation: The manufacturing facilities will be on line before November.
- Computers. actively linked to a computer: The printer is not yet on line.
- Chiefly New York City. line1(def 73e).
- being risked or put in jeopardy; in a vulnerable position: Our prestige and honor are on the line.
- immediately; readily: paid cash on the line.
- not in a straight line.
- in disagreement with what is accepted or practiced.
- Informal. impertinent; presumptuous: That last remark was out of line.
- to conform strictly to a rule, command, etc.
- to shoulder responsibilities; do one's duty: He tried hard to toe the line on the new job.
Origin of line1
British Dictionary definitions for toe the line (1 of 2)
- any straight one-dimensional geometrical element whose identity is determined by two points. A line segment lies between any two points on a line
- 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
- a white or coloured band indicating a boundary or division on a field, track, etc
- a mark or imaginary mark at which a race begins or ends
- See line of scrimmage
- the players arranged in a row on either side of the line of scrimmage at the start of each play
- the edge or contour of a shape, as in sculpture or architecture, or a mark on a painting, drawing, etc, defining or suggesting this
- the sum or type of such contours or marks, characteristic of a style or designthe line of a draughtsman; the line of a building
- a conducting wire, cable, or circuit for making connections between pieces of electrical apparatus, such as a cable for electric-power transmission, telecommunications, etc
- (as modifier)the line voltage
- a railway track, including the roadbed, sleepers, etc
- one of the rails of such a track
- any of the five horizontal marks that make up the staveCompare space (def. 10)
- the musical part or melody notated on one such set
- a discernible shape formed by sequences of notes or musical soundsa meandering melodic line
- (in polyphonic music) a set of staves that are held together with a bracket or brace
- the equator (esp in the phrase crossing the line)
- any circle or arc on the terrestrial or celestial sphere
- 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
- denoting revenue transactions rather than capital transactions in a nation's accounts
- marketing expenditure on media advertising through an agency, rather than internally arranged advertising, such as direct mail, free samples, etc
- bridge denoting bonus points, marked above the horizontal line on the score card
- 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
- denoting capital transactions rather than revenue transactions in a nation's accounts
- marketing denoting expenditure on advertising by other means than the traditional media, such as the provision of free gifts, special displays, direct mailshots, etc
- bridge denoting points scored towards game and rubber, marked below the horizontal line on the score card
- at every stage in a series
- in every detail
- to keep a telephone line open
- football to prevent the opponents from taking the ball forward
- (of soldiers) to keep formation, as when under fire
- to pay money
- to speak frankly and directly
- to risk (one's career, reputation, etc) on something
Word Origin for line
British Dictionary definitions for toe the line (2 of 2)
Word Origin for line
Word Origin and History for toe the line (1 of 3)
late 14c., "to tie with a cord," from line (n.). Meaning "to mark or mark off with lines" is from mid-15c. Sense of "to arrange in a line" is from 1640s; that of "to join a line" is by 1773. To line up "form a line" is attested by 1889, in U.S. football.
Word Origin and History for toe the line (1 of 3)
a Middle English merger of Old English line "cable, rope; series, row, row of letters; rule, direction," and Old French ligne "guideline, cord, string; lineage, descent;" both from Latin linea "linen thread, string, line," from phrase linea restis "linen cord," from fem. of lineus (adj.) "of linen," from linum "linen" (see linen).
Oldest sense is "rope, cord, string;" extended late 14c. to "a thread-like mark" (from sense "cord used by builders for making things level," mid-14c.), also "track, course, direction." Sense of "things or people arranged in a straight line" is from 1550s. That of "cord bearing hooks used in fishing" is from c.1300. Meaning "one's occupation, branch of business" is from 1630s, probably from misunderstood KJV translation of 2 Cor. x:16, "And not to boast in another mans line of things made ready to our hand," where line translates Greek kanon, literally "measuring rod." Meaning "class of goods in stock" is from 1834. Meaning "telegraph wire" is from 1847 (later "telephone wire").
Meaning "policy or set of policies of a political faction" is 1892, American English, from notion of a procession of followers; this is the sense in party line. In British army, the Line (1802) is the regular, numbered troops, as distinguished from guards and auxiliaries. In the Navy (1704, e.g. ship of the line) it refers to the battle line. Lines "words of an actor's part" is from 1882. Lines of communication were originally transverse trenches in siegeworks.
Word Origin and History for toe the line (2 of 3)
Medicine definitions for toe the line
Science definitions for toe the line
Culture definitions for toe the line
Idioms and Phrases with toe the line (1 of 2)
toe the line
Also, toe the mark. Meet a standard, abide by the rules, as in The new director will make us toe the line, I'm sure, or At daycare Brian has to toe the mark, but at home his mother's quite lenient. This idiom refers to runners in a race placing their toes on the starting line and not moving until the starting signal. Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
Idioms and Phrases with toe the line (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with line
- line of fire, in the
- line one's pockets
- line up
- 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