bottom line

the last line of a financial statement, used for showing net profit or loss.
net profit or loss.
the deciding or crucial factor.
the ultimate result; outcome.


bottom-line, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bottom line
1.  the last line of a financial statement that shows the net profit or loss of a company or organization
2.  the final outcome of a process, discussion, etc
3.  the most important or fundamental aspect of a situation

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

bottom line
fig. sense is attested from 1967, from profit and loss accounting, where the final figure after both are calculated is the bottom line on the page. Also (esp. as an adj.) bottomline.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

bottom line definition

The last line in an audit, which shows profit or loss.

Note: By extension, “bottom line” refers to the final, determining consideration in a decision.
Note: “Bottom line” also has a derogatory implication when it refers to those people whose attention to the bottom line prevents them from recognizing the value of anything else.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

bottom line

The ultimate result, the upshot; also, the main point or crucial factor. For example, The bottom line is that the chairman wants to dictate all of the board's decisions, or Whether or not he obeyed the law is the bottom line. This is an accounting term that refers to the earnings figures that appear on the bottom (last) line of a statement. It began to be transferred to other contexts in the mid-1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Bottom line folks, this stuff works, and you will be benefitting within a
  couple of years.
The bottom line is that this is really complicated stuff, and don't believe
  anybody who says otherwise.
Bottom line: don't expect me to back off from natives any time soon.
Bottom line, he knows this subject thoroughly and is used to breaking down its
  complexities for those of us less versed.
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