—n. 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. Math.a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.
3. something arranged along a line, esp. 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 fol. 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, esp. 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, a. the outer form or proportions of a ship, building, etc.: a ship of fine lines. b. 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. c. a person's lot or portion: to endure the hard lines of poverty. d. Chiefly Brit.a certificate of marriage.
22. a circle of the terrestrial or celestial sphere: the equinoctial line. 23. banner (def. 7).
24. Fine Arts. a. a mark made by a pencil, brush, or the like, that defines the contour of a shape, forms hatching, etc.
b. the edge of a shape.
25. Television.one scanning line.
26. Telecommunications. a. a telephone connection: Please hold the line. b. a wire circuit connecting two or more pieces of electric apparatus, esp. the wire or wires connecting points or stations in a telegraph or telephone system, or the system itself.
27. the line,Geog.the equator.
28. 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. 29. an assembly line.
30. Law.a limit defining one estate from another; the outline or boundary of a piece of real estate.
31. 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). 32. Music.any of the straight, horizontal, parallel strokes of the staff, or one placed above or below the staff.
33. Mil. a. a defensive position or front.
b. a series of fortifications: the Maginot line. c. Usually, lines. a distribution of troops, sentries, etc., for the defense of a position or for an attack: behind the enemy's lines. d. the body of personnel constituting the combatant forces of an army, as distinguished from the supply services and staff corps.
34. an arrangement of troops of an army or of ships of a fleet as drawn up for battle: line of battle. 35. a body or formation of troops or ships drawn up abreast (distinguished from column).
36. the class of officers serving with combatant units or warships.
37. the regular forces of an army or navy.
38. that part of an administrative organization consisting of persons actively engaged on a given project. Cf. staff1 (def. 4).
39. a thread, string, cord, rope, or the like.
40. a clothesline: the wash hanging on the line. 41. a cord, wire, or the like, used for measuring or as a guide.
42. Naut. a. a pipe or hose: a steam line. b. a rope or cable used at sea.
43. Slang.a small quantity of cocaine arranged in the form of a slender thread or line, as for sniffing.
44. Also,ligne.a unit, 1/40 inch (0.635 millimeter), for measuring the diameter of buttons.
45. Angling.a length of nylon, silk, linen, cord, or the like, to which are attached the leader, hook, sinker, float, etc.
46. Football. a. either of the two front rows of opposing players lined up opposite each other on the line of scrimmage: a four-man line. b. See line of scrimmage. 47. the betting odds established by bookmakers for events not covered by pari-mutuel betting, esp. sporting events, as football or basketball.
48. Ice Hockey.the two wings and center who make up a team's offensive unit.
49. 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.
50. Textiles.the longer and preferred flax or hemp fibers. Cf. tow2 (def. 2).
51. Fox Hunting.the trail of scent left by a fox.
52. a unit of length equivalent to 1/12 inch (2.12 millimeters).
53. Insurance. a. a class or type of insurance: casualty line. b. the amount of insurance written for a particular risk.
54. Australian Slang.a girl or woman.
55. bring, come, or get into line, a. to become or cause to become straight, as in a row: The members of the marching band got into line. b. to conform or cause to conform or agree: They were persuaded to come into line with the party's policy. 56. down the line, a. in all ways; thoroughly; fully: It's a fine house right down the line—well-built, roomy, attractive. b. in the future.
57. draw the line, to impose a restriction; limit: They might exaggerate but would draw the line at outright lying. 58. go up in one's lines,U.S. Theat. to forget one's part during a performance. Also,Brit.,go up on one's lines. 59. hold the line, to maintain the status quo, esp. in order to forestall unfavorable developments: We're trying to hold the line on prices. 60. in line, a. in alignment; straight.
b. in conformity or agreement.
c. in control (of one's conduct): to keep one's temper in line. d. prepared; ready.
e. waiting one behind the other in a queue: There were eight people in line at the teller's window. 61. in line with, in agreement or conformity with: The action taken was in line with her decision. 62. in the line of duty, in the execution of the duties belonging to some occupation, esp. with regard to the responsibility for life and death: a policeman wounded in the line of duty.Also,in line of duty. 63. lay it on the line,Informal. a. to give money; pay.
b. to give the required information; speak directly or frankly: I'm going to stop being polite and lay it on the line. 64. off line, a. occurring or functioning away from an assembly line, work process, etc.
b. not in operation; not functioning.
65. 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. 66. on line, a. on or part of an assembly line: Production will be improved when the new welding equipment is on line. b. in or into operation: The manufacturing facilities will be on line before November. c. Computers.actively linked to a computer: The printer is not yet on line. d. Chiefly New York City.See line1 (def. 60e).
67. on the line,Informal. a. being risked or put in jeopardy; in a vulnerable position: Our prestige and honor are on the line. b. immediately; readily: paid cash on the line. 68. out of line, a. not in a straight line.
b. in disagreement with what is accepted or practiced.
c. Informal.impertinent; presumptuous: That last remark was out of line. 69. 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. 70. toe the line or mark, a. to conform strictly to a rule, command, etc.
b. to shoulder responsibilities; do one's duty: He tried hard to toe the line on the new job.
—v.i. 1. to take a position in a line; range (often fol. by up): to line up before the start of a parade. 2. Baseball. a. to hit a line drive.
b. to line out.
—v.t. 1. to bring into a line, or into line with others (often fol. 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 fol. 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 liner 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.
9. line out, a. Baseball.to be put out by hitting a line drive caught on the fly by a player of the opposing team.
b. to execute or perform: He lined out a few songs upon request. 10. line up, to secure; make available: to line up support; to line up a speaker for the banquet.
—v.t. 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 book with glued fabric, paper, vellum, etc.
5. line one's pockets, to make much money, esp. in an illegal or questionable way.
—n. a thickness of glue, as between two veneers in a sheet of plywood.