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fall line

noun
1.
an imaginary line, marked by waterfalls and rapids, where rivers descend abruptly from an upland to a lowland.
2.
(initial capital letters) Eastern U.S. the imaginary line between the Piedmont and the Atlantic coastal plain.
3.
Skiing. the path of natural descent from one point on a slope to another.
Origin
1880-1885
1880-85, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for fall-line

fall line

noun
1.
(skiing) the natural downward course between two points on a slope
2.
the edge of a plateau

Fall Line

noun
1.
a natural junction, running parallel to the E coast of the US, between the hard rocks of the Appalachians and the softer coastal plain, along which rivers form falls and rapids
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
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fall-line in Science
fall line
  (fôl)   
A line connecting the waterfalls of nearly parallel rivers that marks a drop in land level.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for fall-line

fall line

line of numerous waterfalls, as at the edge of a plateau, where streams pass from resistant rocks to a plain of weak ones below. Such a line also marks the head of navigation, or the inland limit that ships can reach from a river's mouth; because navigation is interrupted both upstream and downstream, important cities often occur along the fall line. In the eastern United States, a fall line exists between the Appalachian piedmont and the Atlantic coastal plain; waterfalls or rapids occur on all the principal rivers (e.g., the Delaware, Schuylkill, Patapsco, Potomac, James, and Savannah rivers), and the cities of Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and Augusta are among those built along this line. Other examples are the extensive fall lines that separate the narrow coastal plains of Africa, Western Australia, Brazil, and India from their interior continental shields.

Learn more about fall line with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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